Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stroll Through Sultanahmet

After visiting the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Sunday morning, we walked back to the Best Point Hotel to meet Jay and his parents, Elmira and Nezih. Since our hotel is very near the Marmara Sea coastline, we set out to find a good seafood restaurant. Walking along backstreets and through non-tourist neighborhoods was a real treat. Nezih and Jay had to ask for directions several times, but we finally found the area they were looking for.

A nice Sunday walk through the Sultanahmet area.

It's fun to explore Istanbul on foot, especially if you have three Turkish-speaking natives with you.

Some neighborhoods could use a bit of restoration work. We were amazed by how many hotels there were in Istanbul. Lots of large hotels and even more small boutique hotels. My guess is that there will be a hotel here soon (above).

A pedestrian overpass gets us to the other side of the tram tracks.

The tram tracks. Istanbul has a good public transportation system and lots of taxis. We found it very fast and easy to grab a taxi anywhere, any time of day or night. When we visited Jay in his part of town, Taksim, he hailed a taxi for our return to the hotel. He told the driver (in Turkish) "Do not take the long way." The driver replied "Please! Do not think such a thing of me!"

Street vendors are a common sight.

A popular cafe. There are Starbucks coffee shops here, but not in the old part of the city that I could see.

This is the area we're looking for. A street of nothing but restaurants with street seating. At this point Nezih said "Smell that fish smell. It's of a fish that's in season now and is the current specialty of all these restaurants. I remember this smell from my childhood." The fish, Blue Fish, is from the Black Sea. It's unique to this area. It's always grilled, never prepared any other way.

At the end of this street is the Marmara Sea, and the main highway that follows the coast. Most of these restaurants (maybe all of them) specialize in seafood from the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea. 

The restaurant that Elmira and Nezih choose is at the end of the street on the left. A great and memorable meal. See the next blog for more photos.