So the final day in Istanbul we rose fairly early and pottered off to the grand bazaar to do our shopping. Imagine our surprise, when the entire place was closed! Turns out the grand bazaar is closed on Sundays! =O *shock* *horror* to be fair there is really no shortage of shops in Istanbul so we managed to get most of what we needed else where.
After a haggle filled morning Mr Man insisted we get our obligatory international fix of McDonald’s. He chose a standard Big Mac and I selected a Brazil burger. Staff weren’t as friendly and helpful here as you’d expect from McD’s. In fact they were pretty ill mannered and abrupt… Also, the one thing that you can normally count on McDonald’s for, the consistency in food, was really lacking here. Whilst both meals were still edible, they weren’t very satisfying. The bread rolls were stale making the burgers dry and for some reason my burger was flooded with lettuce… Here’s a picture of what it should have looked like vs what it actually looked like.
Aaaand Mr Man’s Big Mac:
After lunch he declared, “I’m over McDonald’s!” to which I’m not gonna lie, I felt a small level triumph!
We then pottered off to check out Topkapi palace. This was once upon a time, the home of Ottoman sultans, so full of loads of history, culture and great architecture. It was on our to do list on our last trip but we hadn’t managed it, and I’m oh, so glad, we managed to squeeze it in this time! Even Mr Man had a good time, he usually complains museums and historical places are boring! Pictures are prohibited inside so here’s a few we took outside / managed to stealthily take inside:
^ Arabic scriptures carved out on stone. So pretty, looks incredibly difficult to do!
^ plates from the huge kitchens. They had separate kitchens and had thousands of staff working in them, my favourite was the dessert kitchen!
^ such pretty decor and windows!
^ and of course, such incredible views!
They also have a dedicated building to Islamic sacred relics where you can see everything from the staff of Moses to the footprint and sword of the prophet Mohammed (you can also see strands of his beard later on too – not sure how one preserves hair, but, what do I know?) We tried to take a few pics here but the dim lighting made it really difficult and the glass boxes everything was stored in was oh, so reflective… That and glaring security staff shouting “no pictures!”
Upon leaving here we decided to make reservations at the restaurant on top of the Adamar Hotel for dinner around sunset.
We popped back to our hotel to drop off our purchases, have a little rest and to get refreshed before dinner…
The first thing that struck us at the restaurant was the incredible views. I was so glad we picked a time where we could watch the sun setting, it meant we could enjoy both the sunlit views, the views with all the lights on in the dark and the in between time with the sky streaked in reds, pinks and oranges. Simply perfect.
The menu had a lot of Italian options and I very nearly opted for a pasta dish, but on our final night it felt like a cop out so I chose a chicken casserole and Mr Man chose a mixed grill. As usual we chose to share a haydari to start. Here are the pics:
I’m slightly amused at how the picture of the starter is so much nicer because the sun was still out! Anyway, the food was meh. It was edible but not great. Hugely disappointing on the last night. Mr Man said his mixed plate was a little dry and over done. My casserole stew thing was chicken cooked with mushrooms in tomatoes and wasn’t very well, flavoursome.
That said, the views we’re simply breathtaking and I just wish we’d had a better camera! Here are some quick shots we took. Mostly too busy enjoying it to run around taking pics and disturbing other diners so forgive me for the quality!
The service was impeccable, the waiters were at our beck and call and so hospitable, as soon as the breeze started picking up, I suddenly had a blanket draped around me. Simply perfect.
We decided against dessert here as the food was mediocre and settled the bill. It wasn’t cheap. But we anticipated that as it was a fancy joint. Although I didn’t regret going there, I probably wouldn’t bother again on the premise the food was no where near as good as some of the things we had the pleasure of eating on our trip. Somewhere like the Hamdi restaurant would have been a better option.
Our final thing on the to do list was to pick up some Turkish Delight – we stopped at Aziz Usta (that link isn’t for the branch we visited but I couldn’t find the right one – we popped into the one near the grand bazaar on our walk back). Because I’m silly I forgot to take a picture of the mouthwatering window displays… I did take a pic when we got back though.
We purchased a few sets of mixed boxes for family and friends and of course, ourselves! This stuff is pretty fancy they have exciting flavours e.g. green apple (which you can’t see in the picture because I ate it before I took it!) and cinnamon. Pretty sure there was pomegrante and other cool things too. YUM!
The manager here served us and he was so friendly. He ensured our order was fulfilled and got us some tea and baklava on the house whilst we waited. Such a great little find.
Bakalava in tow, without the spring in our steps as our trip had come to an end, we headed back to our hotel.
The rest of the evening consisted of packing and sleep as we had an early flight home. I had a cheesy quote in my mind that evening… Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
Good bye Istanbul, until next time… =)