Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hiking in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Day one in Istanbul. It never hurts to splurge once in a while.

In the morning, Cheryl took us for a walk around the neighborhood and she showed us how the Istanbul transit cards work so that we could use the metro and ferry services.

The day started off really hazy... or maybe smoggy. We could hardly see across the bay.

We loaded some money onto the transit cards and then walked through the local market area.

Old Ottoman era house in between the more modern ones.

Hazy start to the day.

Really nice walking path along the water.

Cheryl bought us a blue Turkish evil eye good luck charm for Max.

Ruth and Gus the dog.


We even found a bakery that had gluten free bread. Only 20 lira ($1.70 CAD, $1.40 USD) per loaf.

Colored balls line this tramway road.

Old door.

We went back to the apartment and had some lunch using that gluten free bread. It was really good, so we might have to go back and get some more before we leave.

After lunch Ruth and I took off alone. We would meet Cheryl later for dinner.

By 3:00pm, things had cleared up quite a lot compared to the photo taken earlier.

Lots of people out having picnics.

We got on the ferry at Kadikoy.

The ferry was pretty busy. 
It took 26 minutes from the time we got on.

Scenery along the way.

We got off at the Eminönü ferry port.
It was really busy!

This is a popular Turkish snack. 
It's called a simit.

Spice market.

We started going into the spice market area, but it was really busy. And really touristy. We wouldn't have bought anything anyhow, so we turned around and headed over to Gulhane Park. I think it was one of our readers that told us the tulips should be out.

Back part of Süleymaniye Mosque.

Süleymaniye Mosque.

Lots of people out and about.

Just an old building.

Turkish treats.

We made it to Gulane Park and sure enough the tulips were out.

Lots of flowers.

Column of the Goths.
Made up of a single piece of marble, it dates to the year 331 AD.

Again, tons of people.

The Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Despite the crowds, we decided to go inside.

It was packed. We didn't stay long.

Look up!

Looking towards the more popular Blue Mosque.

We decided against visiting the Blue Mosque. Cheryl had told us that it's overrated and overcrowded and that there are better mosques in Istanbul. It's also under constant renovation with lots of scaffolding and tarps. 

Many of the stray dogs are actually quite overweight!

The Obelisk of Theodosius.

The Obelisk is really interesting. It was originally crafted in Egypt around 1450 BC. It was transported from Egypt to Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Romans around 390 AD and erected in the location it still stands today.

From there, we went to meet Cheryl and some of her friends for dinner. She had warned us that they were going to one of Istanbul's best and most expensive restaurants, so we were aware of what we were getting into! But we don't splurge very often, and we wanted to enjoy an evening out. And if you're going to go to an expensive restaurant, it's best to do so in an inexpensive country!

Dinner overlooking the Blue Mosque.

Views from the 9th floor restaurant.

The restaurant is actually called Fine Dine Istanbul. It's located on the top floor of the Arcadia Blue Hotel. There were six of us for dinner. One Australian who has lived in Istanbul for 9 years, one Moroccan who lives in Izmir, Turkiye and one British guy who lives in Portugal and is just visiting!

We had some drinks and a few bottles of very nice wine! And then some appetizers before the main meals came.

I had the Iskender Kebap.
It was delicious and I was stuffed.

Ruth had the Cafe de Paris Soslu Bonfile. A fillet steak.

Really interesting company. Really good food and wine. And beautiful views. It was a fantastic evening. Just for convenience, we split the bill six ways. Including tip, it was 1,000 lira ($86 CAD, $68 USD) per person.

Not something we do very often, but it never hurts to splurge once in a while.

Views after sunset.

Full moon over Istanbul.

Grant, Kevin, Cheryl, Zack, Ruth, Greg.

Interesting mural just down the street from the apartment.

Unfortunately, the weather is turning bad. Rain for the next two or three days. Oh well... we have raincoats and umbrellas!


And in Canada...


  1. Wow what a fantastic city. The park is beautiful and even the crowds looked wonderful lol. Yes, good to splurge once in while. Enjoy life and travels.

    1. It is a very interesting city, something like New York City, Mexico City, London or Barcelona that we have visited in the past and loved. Lots of history here and great architect to look at. It is a very vibrant city with lots going on. It is nice to experience this every once in a while but it is definitely not somewhere that we could live.

      We loved the park and beautiful tulips that were there, it was like a little slice of heaven compared to the throngs of people at the Hagia Sophia mosque.

  2. Sounds like a fun night out! What brought your friend, Cheryl, to Istanbul?

    1. It was a fun night out and we totally enjoyed ourselves. :-)

      Cheryl is a drama teacher and at the time was living in Vancouver and was looking for a change. She applied to an international teaching program and they found a teaching job for her in Istanbul and she decided to take the chance for something different so she accepted the position at an English speaking academy (high school level) here in Istanbul six years ago and hasn't looked back since.

    2. Very adventurous, thanks for sharing!

  3. That evening looks like it was well worth the $86CAD.
    Also liked the tulip pictures, especially the last one.

    1. Keep in mind that, that was $86 CAD each! We did have a wonderful evening out and the food and company were great.

      We loved looking at the tulips as well. Not quite the display that Ottawa has every year but still a beautiful sight to see.

  4. That doesn't look like much food for that price, but I suspect the drinks and wine were a large % of the cost. Lovely night out, though, and I don't blame you a bit for the splurge. We do that about once a year as well! :)

    1. The food was actually fairly reasonably priced, also keep in mind that we all had a starter as well, although Kevin and I shared ours. So, yes the bulk of the bill was the alcohol. I believe Kevin said his beer that he had before dinner was 83TL ($7.15 CAD, $5.65 USD) I had wine, the others had drinks as well and we had four bottles of expensive but delicious wine with dinner, it all adds up. We are glad that we splurged and we would rather splurge on a meal like that here in Turkey than back home in Canada. It was a nice treat and we had a fun night. :-)

  5. And I forgot to mention, the TULIPS! Absolutely stunning. Loved those photos!

    1. They were beautiful! They did a wonderful job displaying them in the park.

  6. Looks like a good meal and time well-spent! Enjoy!

    1. It definitely was a great evening, we have no regrets spending the money. :-)

  7. Last time I was in Instanbul was on my last big trip in 2019. I met a Turkish girl in Thailand and she warned me for old people trying to scam you wby dropping a shoe brush and then trying to get money from you. I was only in Istanbul for 1 day (transit). I was walking maybe for 2 hours when suddnely I heared something falling on the streets and when I looked I saw a shoe brush lying there...and went oh wel look at that. :-).

    1. Lol, that is funny! We hadn't heard or read about this scam up until now. So the other day when Kevin and I were out walking along a busy street somewhere, an old guy walked by, we hadn't even noticed and then I heard a bang and I turned around and there was a shoe brush on the ground. I saw immediately that the guy who dropped it, noticed he dropped it so I walked on, if he hadn't have seen that he dropped the brush I would have picked it up and given it to him. I also noticed that another man also saw the fallen brush. Kevin hadn't seen any of this so was surprised when I just told him about it now after reading your comment. How weird is that?!


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