Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wandering: An Unharried Day in Istanbul

Start by sipping Turkish coffee in the Arasta Bazaar - behind the Blue Mosque.  This picture is inspiring me to get the percolator going right now.  Ahhhh.  Coffeeeeeee.  Arasta, though still a tourist trap (but who are we kidding? we're tourists!), is much quieter, smaller, and less frenzied than the Grand Bazaar, especially off season.

Wander around the smaller streets by the bazaar and you'll happen upon some bizarre display like this at Cocoon.  What in the...?  These are felted hats!  In fact, the store is full of felted lovelies, along with some beautiful textiles and handcrafts.

The Istanbul Handicrafts Market (Kabasakal Caddesi 23) showcases their artists' work in glass, pottery, silk painting, and weaving.  The different crafts are housed in small studios/shops surrounding a sunny, central courtyard.  Artists sometimes are at work in their studios.

If you're feeling peckish, try Çiğdem Pastanesi at Divan Yolu Caddesi 62A.  It serves delectable baklava, pastries, and cappuccinos worthy of Rome.

Or, if you're hungry enough for lunch, go to the Sultanahmet Fish House for super-fresh fish at very, very reasonable prices.  Their three course meals are fantastic.  Sit at a window and watch people and cats go by.

Here's Sappho: she's expecting your visit at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum - and behind her is the discus thrower, on loan from the British Museum (not sure how long that will last).  The museum really does have an impressive collection of ancient Near Eastern, Greek, and Roman art and artifacts, along with Ottoman tiles and art.  Beware, however: the museum guards will kick you out at 4PM!  So make sure you arrive with plenty of time.  Closed Mondays.

Walk across the Galata Bridge at sunset, then make your way to drinks and dinner on the modern strip of shops and restaurants on Istiklal Caddesi in Beyoğlu. Rest your feet and relax!

Whimsical felted rabbits, with each their own felt tote bag, at Cocoon.


Lucian said...

That was a wonderful time in Istanbul!

Marianevans said...

Yes indeed!

istanbul said...

It is wonderful city.
I liked it.