My Turkish Wallet is Empty…

… And my stomach is happy 🙂 But first, I went to Asia. We took a ferry over in the morning and enjoyed the view of both side of the Bosphorus Sea on the way. It took us further south than we realized we really should have gone, so true to form we started walking. The problem being that I had on different shoes today and rubbed blisters on my toes and one heel. Oops. We decided to take another boat up into the Bosphorus Sea to see more of the bridges, palaces, and mansions lining its banks. The Rumeli Fortress is shown below, as an example. We were overall a little disappointed that the Asia side was identical to the Europe side, but both admitted that it made sense.

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Then we ferried back to “our side” and had a rooftop lunch of mixed “mezes”, or appetizers. Anything from a carrot salad to wrapped leaves to couscous. We also had a warm eggplant dish to compliment the cold dishes, and an amazing view of the sea to top it off! After lunch Katie and I read and had some tea at the restaurant downstairs from our hotel and just relaxed. Then we parted ways and Katie went to experience a Turkish bath while I opted for the Modern Museum of Turkey. I debated about the bath but ultimately decided that saunas, hot baths, massages, etc. are not enjoyable for me in the States, so I would not really appreciate the experience in Turkey. I would rather learn more about cultural Turkey after the Ottoman Empire instead!

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Far and away the best part of today was our “dinner”. We decided to skip real food and go back to Hafiz Mustafa, the amazing dessert place from a few days ago. We sat upstairs in the cafe first and ordered chocolate baklava, hazelnut baklava, and pistachio with honey Turkish delight. All were incredible but the hazelnut baklava was probably my favorite. Our dinner plates are shown above, with our pomegranate tea, just to make you jealous 🙂

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Then we went downstairs to the bakery and custom-picked assortment trays of Turkish delight to take as souvenirs. It was really fun to taste all the flavors, pick which we wanted, and watch the chefs cut and package the boxes. I literally spent my last liras on a box of this delicious dessert and could not think of a better way to leave Turkey. All of the employees are super friendly and we were offered complimentary drinks while we shopped. At the end, we were taking pictures of the rows and rows of treats and our favorite chef came around and insisted on joining us in photos.

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It’s the people like him that I will miss the most about this country. They have been nothing but friendly and heart-warming, especially the store owners once you are inside. You can tell they have a lot of pride in what they do and their country and its rich history. I strongly recommend adding Istanbul to you travel lists, I’m certainly glad I did!

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