Istanbul, day 5
For my last full day in Istanbul, I was determined to do three things:
- Have a traditional Turkish breakfast, whatever that meant
- Stroll through the Grand Bazaar
- Visit Hagia Sophia
I found Doğacıyız Gourmet on Foursquare, so after taking the Marmaray Metro and the regular metro, it about 15 minutes to walk to the restaurant from Şişhane Metro Station, the last of the way being uphill. But it was all worth it the effort.
One of the chefs was sitting outside when I arrived. I asked for breakfast, and he nodded in acknowledgment. Ibrahim, the owner, waited on me and made sure my tea was always filled, even after I knocked over a glass. The breakfast (₺35) was so fresh and healthy. It was vegetarian-friendly and tasted amazing. Even the honey had sugar flakes crystallized on top. Surprisingly, I was able to finish everything, including all the bread. The spice for the bread is of Lebanese origin. Ibrahim gifted me some freshly brewed Turkish coffee after I finished my last cup of tea.
As I was walking to Tophane Tram Station, I noticed some repeating rooftops.
I took the tram all the way to the Beyazıt-Kapalıçarşı station to visit the Grand Bazaar. A security guard checked my bags at the entrance, which I expected. I didn’t stay very long because I eventually got annoyed with the persistent shopkeeps trying to distract me from enjoying the walk through this large indoor shopping mall featuring traditional Turkish items like lamps, scarves, and dishes. But it was nice to see it, especially because there were not many people there.
Then I walked to Hagia Sophia. Of course, I’m hassled on the way there. One Turkish man was especially persistent and followed me for a bit, but my continued ignoring of him turned him away eventually. I’ll cover my visit to Hagia Sophia in a separate post because I was so enamored with it.
After my museum visit, I found a post office near Sirkeci Marmaray Metro Station. It was huge! I was a bit lost even after I walked straight into the main service area, so I asked the guy sitting at the front counter what to do if I wanted to mail my postcard. He pointed at the touchscreen next to him and told me which option to push. A number was printed out, and I waited for it to be called and a counter to be assigned. Almost immediately, I was assigned to counter 18, but I needed to get the attention of the staff member by saying “mehreba” several times before he turned around. I showed him that the intended destination was USA, and he asked for ₺3.20 in exchange for a stamp.
To return to Üsküdar, I took the Marmaray Metro one stop. I went to Migros to get some nectarines and a bottle of Efes since I still hadn’t collected a bottlecap from Turkey yet. I finished the day by doing a small load of laundry while enjoying my beer.