06 September, 2013

Eating and Sleeping in Istanbul

Our hotel is amazing! We are staying at the Ahnet Efendi Evi Biutique Hotel in the Fendi Municipality of Istanbul. We are minutes from all the major sights in the old town. Thank you Hakan for hooking us up!

Staying in a hotel is an experience that we are still getting used too. Up until our stay in Patara, Turkey, we had only spent two nights in a true hotel (one night in Venice, one night in Rome; unless you count the Landhaus Panarama - but we had a kitchen there, and Gerda!). 

On our adventure our accommodations have been apartments with kitchen facilities. Which is a great way to travel! It has revolutionized the way Courtney and I think of taking a vacation. In the future, I think we will be finding more apartments on homeaway.com, VRBO.com, Flipkey.com, Tripadvisor.com, plus local ones like Livelikeagerman.com instead of planning hotel-stay vacations.

Being able to cook and store your own food has been invaluable on this trip. Not only has it helped the budget, but it helps the hungries, too. It seems that our children eat - a lot! And it helps to have a refrigerator full of cucumbers, carrots, yogurt, etc. to bust out when a snack is required. We also love filling up ziplock bags (or inexpensive plastic containers bought at the Euro Store) with veggie/fruit/ nuts to take with us. Waiting in a L O N G line at an antiquity is bound to get someone's stomach growling. 

It is quite different having to plan your meals around walking to a restaurant and waiting to be served. I'm finding that it is much harder than planning, buying and cooking meals. But it could also be a control thing ...

On the plus side, the food is delicious in Turkey and so are the prices - if you know where to look. In the city municipality where we a staying there are six government-owned restaurants. Which means good Turkish food at a great price. We've found three of them. 

Our favorite one is close to Hagia Sofia and the Sultanahmet Mosque - Fatih Belediyesi Sultanhamet Sosyal Tesisleri. The food is basically the same at all three, but the service at this one rocks! Well actually, one person in particular. Isn't it amazing how it only takes one person to make (or break) the experience? Of course it probably helps that Chayton offered to do the dishes (he loves to wash dishes). Unfortunately, they have actual dishwashers, but our maĆ®tre d loved the offer and it has become a running joke.

Our next favorite Fatih Belediyesi restaurant sits on the edge of the Sea of Marmar. Can you imagine? A reasonable priced restaurant at a prime water location? At this one I think they were a little surprised to have American tourists. 

Of course, the hospitality at Ozi's and at Dubb Indian Restaurant takes the cake.

Friday night pizza!

The service at Dubb even included blankets to ward off the cool night breeze. 

Although, being able to eat in Medusa's Garden ranks pretty high. Especially when there are four lovable kittens to play with. This is actually the cafe at the Archeological Museum. They're finding so many antiquities that statues and pieces of buildings even line the way to the toilets! (And we can tell you where ALL the public toilets are in Istanbul.)

Not to mention all the yummy street-side cafes and stands where you can get a chicken doner sandwich and a drink for about 3 US dollars. Yum. And wow. 

I might be able to get used to this ...


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