Istanbul not Constantinople

Always heard this song growing up but never knew what the hell it was talking about. Well I found out when visiting my buddy Mickey, who is doing similar rotation to me, but in Istanbul. When the Turks came to live in Constantinople, over time they shortened it Istanbul, and locals even call it Stanbul. Learn something every day!


For those that are geographical challenged like myself, these pics give you a good idea of where Istanbul is located and the layout of the city. It’s one of the largest cities in the world with close to 15 million people and is actually on two different continents. The river that runs north and south is called the Bosphorous, splitting the city between Europe and Asia.

I have a lot of pics from the trip so going to break it up by days.

FRIDAY

While Mickey was working on Friday, I explored the touristy area of the city called Sultanahmet. This is a very historic part of the city and has some of the oldest buildings I have ever seen.

First stop was at the Ayasofya/Hagia Sophia, which ia a Church that was built in 6th century.

Next up was the famous Blue Mosque just around the corner. Istanbul is mostly populated with Muslims and I happened to there during Ramadan, which is an Islamic month of fasting. Friday afternoon is a big day for prayer so the streets and area around the Mosque were full of people praying. It was a very cool experience to see. They have loud speakers all around the city that call out to the people when it is time to pray. You can here a bit of this in the video below.

Next up was the Topkapi Palace which is where Ottoman Sultans lived throughout there Empire. I got a bit lost on the way there, but was able to find a nice place down by the water to enjoy a tea. Turkey has the best tea I’ve ever had!

After tea I was able to find the Palace which was breathtaking to say the least. Huge compound with stunning buildings and views of the city. I can see why the Sultans picked this place to live for 400 years. Not too shabby.

After long and hot day exploring city, Mickey and I grabbed a drink waiting for his friend Ali and great place overlooking the city. This was a great way to start night on the town.
SATURDAY
We had a relatively early night out (for Europe standards at least) which allowed us to get up early to go see the Asia side of Istanbul. We took a ferry across the Bosphorous which gave some great views of the city. On the way to the ferry, was able to get some cool pictures on the bridge.

Once over to the Asia side, Mickey convinced me to try a famous Turkish snack called Midye Dolma, which are cooked mussels filled with rice. These were AMAZING and according to Rico, “The best I’ve had in Turkey”
Cruising through the Asia side on a hot day, we were craving a nice spot to sit down for a bit and drink a cold beer. Found a perfect place on the water looking over Asia coast.
Ali suggested a great place for us to go for dinner and clubbing Saturday night called Anjelique. I ordered a traditional Turkish dish which was meatballs on pita with tomatoes, peppers, and egg plant. Very good meal.
Anjelique is northern part of the city and close to one of the bridges that connects Europe and Asian sides. The building sits right on the water which makes for great atmosphere for dinner and at night.

This was definitely one of the coolest clubs I’ve ever been to and reminded a little bit of Vegas but on the water. Very impressed and thanks Ali for brings us here.

SUNDAY
Rounded out the trip on Sunday by heading up to another northern part of the city called Bebek. First stop was to grab some coffee at arguably one of the best Starbucks locations in the world. It is two floors and has patio right on the Bosphourous. I think Starbucks could use the picture below:

In true Mickey style, we had to end the weekend on the best possible breakfast you can find in Istanbul. We went to a place called Kale and it definitely lived up to the reputation. Started the meal with vegetable platter with warm pita and three different kinds of chesses. Then we had a dish that was a creamed butter soaked in honey with more bread. And the best for last was an egg dish menemen, which is eggs cooked in tomatoes and peppers and is served a little runny. Unbelievable breakfast.

Overall a phenomenal weekend in a remarkable city with a great friend. Doesn’t get any better than that!
Next up: Barcelona
Also, if you want to read some more great things about Istanbul and Turkey, check out http://mickeyashmoreistanbul.blogspot.com
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