The end of the tour, but not the end for us

Istanbul Travel Blog

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The majority of the people on the tour went on their merry way today, but we decided to take advantage of having the weekend still up our sleeve so Jamie, Mish, Mel, Tovey and us opted to stay around for another two nights.  Unfortunately this meant changing hotels.  We went from a top notch, nice clean hotel into a dank little dirty place.  Well nobody was happy at having to downgrade so extensively and after many phone calls they local tour operater offered a 2nd hotel which was just down the road.  Thankfully these rooms were clean and didn't reek of smoke so we dumped our stuff and headed out.

We were only a short walk from some of the smaller bazaars which was handy as we picked up a few things whilst looking around.  The first bazaar was for garden and pets and was an outdoor setup which was nice as the sun was shining.
  There were lots of cute little animals hoping for a new owner, plus some not so cute animals such as leeches.  I think there was about 10 or so large water bottles (those ones that go on the office water cooler) full of leeches swimming around and sucking to the container wall.  Weird.

The spice bazaar was great as there was so much on offer - lots of different fresh spices, coffee and tea blends, turkish delights plus the mandatory light, clothes and kebabs.  We spent quite a while walking around just smelling the spices and teas.  We ended up picking up some indian type spices as they seemed better than what's on offer here in the UK, plus some meatball/bbq flavouring to put on meat.  Ended up also buying luggage in order to carry things back.
Leeches anyone?


Later in the day we headed over to Taksim square in order to meet up with a few friends for dinner as that area had been recommended by some locals.  The square itself doesn't really have any local eateries - just full of Pizza Hut, Burger King and McDonalds.  We headed back into the shopping area as we'd heard there were good restaurants on the side streets - they weren't wrong.  By getting off the main strip you find all the restaurants trying to get your business.  We walked around a bit trying to decide what to have, in the end nobody could decide to we found one that had a roof terrace and already had a few people eating.  Everyone was huffing and puffing by the time we got to the top after climbing the steep stairs and was happy to take a seat and have a look over the city.  The meal was quite tasty and washed down well with some beers.
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Leeches anyone?
Leeches anyone?
Various flavoured tea
Various flavoured tea
Colourful selection of spices and …
Colourful selection of spices and…
A view down from the rooftop terra…
A view down from the rooftop terr…
About to enjoy our meal
About to enjoy our meal
A mosque under lights
A mosque under lights
Istanbul
photo by: Memo