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Monday, May 9, 2022

Walking to Find Tourist Attractions

Aloha Everyone,

Just stepping out of our comfortable and safe hotel environment gives us an adrenaline rush. Istanbul is chaotic and strange. Add to that the huge crowds hurrying in different directions. We are determined to stay safe and enjoy the city while keeping an eye for thieves and pickpockets.

A carpet vendor spreads his products right on the sidewalk. It’s difficult to pass without stepping on them. He greets us with, “Hello. Want to buy a village carpet?” To which we reply, “No thank you.” Responding serves as a sales challenge. He follows us for half a block with a sales pitch.

Most of the streets in the Old Town are narrow and hilly. We navigate between cars, vans and other pedestrians avoiding big cracks in the sidewalk and mismatched tiles.

J.J. and I were able to identify several mosques and museums we would like to visit. Maps in Turkish and access time and day changes without prior notice. Turkish tour guides just shrugged their shoulders and say, “Maybe next day.” when we ask for information.

We enjoyed great meals today. My breakfast selection at the hotel was healthy. 

For lunch and dinner, J.J. chose fish dishes with veggies and hummus. A view of the Bosporus and an ancient fortress during lunch was very enjoyable. If it wasn’t so cold, we would have lingered. Restaurants in the Old Town cater to foreign tourists. They use printed menus that are same. What’s different are pricing and portion.

Our dinner was unexpectedly good. We usually choose 2-3 dishes plus one bottle of water. The average meals cost 300 Turkish liras inclusive of tip which is equivalent to US$21. With inflation of 70% since a year ago, Turkey badly needs tourism. Interesting that restaurant barkers aggressively go after foreign tourist walking while ignoring Turks who stop to flip menus.

Aloha -- Cathi