Posted by: David Stewart | June 8, 2013

Istanbul – Bosporus and Folk Music

This is part of a series of posts about our Spring 2013 trip.
Istanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, TurkeyIstanbul, Turkey
Wednesday, April 17

Istanbul, Turkey

Maiden Tower, Istanbul

After breakfast, we took the tram from the Aya Sohpia to the foot of the Galati Bridge and accepted a pitch from a salesperson to join a two hour boat tour of the Bosporus. This is the busy waterway which connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean and marks the dividing line between Europe and Asia. The wind was really killer for sitting outside on the boat, but there was a covered area to get out of the wind, where almost all of the passengers huddled. The boat ride gave a terrific introduction to the rest of the city outside the Sultanemeht, with a wide range of neighborhoods, old palaces (some converted to high-end hotels) and other bits of water traffic and architectural highlights. One example is the Maiden Tower, named when a Sultan ensconced his daughter there to keep her pure. The tower was an exterior in a James Bond movie, the World is Not Enough.

Istanbul, Turkey

Nevizde, Istanbul

After freezing on the boat, we found a restaurant for lunch under the Galata Bridge, and then walked across the street to Beyoglu. We walked up to the Galata Tower, but decided it was not worth paying the money to ride up the tower for the view. We kept walking and encountered a street of musical instrument stores. This led to a long shopping street called Istiklal Cd. This pedestrian-only street became filled up as afternoon slipped to evening. We got our Turkcell SIM cards topped up, visited an old church and a bookstore with fine English titles. This street is where you can get your fill of Western brands as well, such as Starbucks, Burger King and Sephora. We discovered a restaurant street called Nevizade, which was where Lonely Planet had recommended a Meyhane, a local food and music venue. We marked this in our heads and kept walking up Istiklal. We made it all the way to Taksim Square before deciding to check out the Meyhane.

Current event note:  After we came home, Taksim Square has been all over the news as the location of recent protest marches and police action in Istanbul. Our timing turned out to be really good for avoiding the problems.

Istanbul, Turkey

Folk music at a “Meyhane”

Nevizade is a pedestrian-only street crammed with inside and outside seating for a variety of little restaurants. The place we chose was based on a Lonely Planet recommendation of a “Meyhane”, a place where you can eat and drink and listen to fassil, a kind of local gypsy folk music. We listened for a while to the music after dinner and then slipped back to our hotel.

What a wonderful way to finish off our time in Istanbul!

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