Sunday, September 9, 2012

Istanbul Istiklal Ave street foods and eats

We woke up at 4:45AM and it was still dark out, the rooster hadn't even crowed yet and we had already packed the shuttle with our belongings and hit the road by 5:30AM.

I was a hot mess as I still had the same dress I wore last night with residual makeup still on my face.  Thank god for oversize sunglasses.

The drive to Antalya airport was a mixture of scenic coasts and small cities so the drive didn't seem as long as expected.  I couldn't sleep in the ride so I got a chance to see the sun come up along the beautiful coast.

For a one hour flight, Turkish airlines sure goes out of their way in providing water, coffee/tea and a small sandwich.

The group was exhausted and famished by the time our airport shuttle reached Taksim Square.  We were unsure of the directions to our hostel and to make matters worst, we were carrying our backpacks and toting around our carry-ons in the city bustle.

Upon arrival at Bunk hostel, we were advised that it was too early to check in so we ditched our belongings and went out for lunch.  The Mo and I shared a few dishes at a lokantasi on the famous Istiklal Ave in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

We did some window shopping and returned back to the hostel to check in and shower.  After a short 20-30 minute power nap in our small 4 people dorm room, we went back to Taksim Square for Turkish tea and pastry.

On the square, there seemed to be a non threatening protest undergoing but the police squat team was nearby, just in case there was turmoil.

We snacked on some more stuffed mussels with rice by Taksim Square, 2 for 1 Lira, how could we resist?

The Mo and I hopped on the tram for a different view through Istiklal Ave.  We paid 4 Liras each for a one way ride to the end of the long street.

On the way back, we stopped by a few stores and shopping plazas picked up a few things before heading back to the room to meet up with the other couple.

I was bummed that we had planned on visiting the museums tomorrow and found out they would be closed on Mondays.  The group walked down the hill to the Galata bridge and over the bridge and took part in the famous "balik ekmek" fish sandwiches grilled hot off the docked flashy in the boats.

balık ekmek

We walked back to Navizad street where restaurants and bars line the narrow cobblestone street and maitre d's are in your face to have you look over their menu or "have a seat."  After walking up and down, we opted for a restaurant that had an open table where we could "people watch."  Both locals and tourists roamed the street and took part mezes offered by most of the establishments.

The menu was limited and most of the dishes looked similar to what we had been eating the past couple of weeks.  Although my fried calamari was great, I didn't care for my grape leaves with hard rice or Mo's chicken dish.

I have high hopes that we will venture out late tonight and find Mo's wet burger.