My second day in Istanbul was a lot more energetic, so to say. I was feeling better and spent the day with my friends exploring more of the city, even despite the wet weather in the afternoon (and it was also freezing cold).
We got up early in the morning and visited the Topkapi Palace. We hoped to beat the crowds, but it was already filling up by 9am – still, I can’t imaging how many more people there would have been later on in the day. The Palace is incredible and really does exhibit the wealth and influence of the Ottoman Emperors. For architecture lovers, this is another one of those must see buildings – a definite blend of the eastern and western aesthetics. Truly a beautiful complex – which I hope you can get some idea from the photographs.
After spending almost half a day at the palace, we wondered through the spice markets to stock up on baklava and turkish delight, and then made our way of the the Galata Bridge towards Taksim. We saw the many men fishing from the bridge and went up the Galata Tower. We were so lucky to have a break in the rain and see the sun come out for 10 minutes whilst at the top of the tower, giving us a spectacular view of the city below. The incredible skyline, dotted with mosque spires is far different from any other modern city-scape I’d seen before.
We then wondered through Istiklal Avenue, along with many other people. Despite the horrible weather, by now it was getting darker, colder and the rain was increasing, the place was buzzing. I would have been lovely to stroll through the central shopping strip on a warm evening, listening the the buskers and tasting the street food whilst meandering through the stores. Oh well, maybe next time.
We planned to have dinner in Taksim, but the weather was uncomfortable and the riot squad presence making it even more so. So we headed back to Sultanahment on the metro, to have a quiet dinner in a more familiar place. After dinner, we made a leisurely stop for me to purchase a beautiful kilim rug (now taking pride position in my lounge room) before bidding farewell to this amazing city which is Istanbul.
I just wanted to add in a little something about rug purchases in Istanbul. Many people come to Istanbul to purchase the beautiful tribal rugs from rural Turkey. Make sure you do your research and buy from a reputable place – I’m sure that there are a plethora of imitations out there. I bought my kilim rug from Noah’s Ark Carpets and Kilims located on Divanyolu Caddesi in Sultanahment. They were recommended by National Geographic and the service was amazing. The staff were incredible knowledgeable and went out of their way to make us as comfortable and well-informed about our purchases as possible. They come highly recommended and I would definitely buy from them again.