Best guide possible
Ok so istanbul is so full of stuff to do, and its quite hard to keep on top of things, but I found this magazine called Cornucopia. It offers a fresh view on turkey and istanbul and all the best things to do. For example it has articles on the classic sites: Hagia Sophia, Ortakoy, Blue Mosque, Rustem Pasa Mosque, and the nicest restaurants like Ciya in Kadikoy and Asitane, but it also has intelligent writing about these places and interesting articles about the history of the city. So my tip to anyone travelling to turkey, or planning a trip there, is to pick up a copy. The website is really useful as well: www.cornucopia.net!
Just one example: they told me about how in Kandilli on the Bosphorpus you can find the best Yoghurt shops, and in Cengelkoy there are really delicious cucumbers to be bought... Its hard to know about these things before you go, and it makes it possible to discover the best things about the city.
Stroll through the spice market and pick up an ounce or two of Turkish kebab spice or maybe some Garam Masala to bring back home. Be sure to look around though, taste and smell, as not all spice sellers are equal in quality of offerings. One way to tell the quality of the spices is by looking at the color -- it should be deep, not dull and flat and if a mixture of spices (such as the "kebab spice") look for one with a combination of many ingredients.
The Stink of Fake Perfume
The bazaars and alleyways of Istanbul are full of peddlers hawking fake perfume. Of course, they?ll swear it?s the real thing. If you so much as look at cellophane-wrapped boxes they thrust in your face, you will never get rid of them. ?Where you from?? they?ll say, to get the conversation started, and you, who were raised to be polite, will answer them. This is a mistake. Once they get you talking, they?ve won half the battle.
Chanel, Cacharel, Armani. The packages look authentic. No glaring spelling mistakes or phony-looking graphics. After coming through duty-free, you know these products are very expensive. They will tag after you and try to sell you as many bottles as they can. Two, three, four for the price of one. To show you the stuff is ?genuine? they will pull out a bottle and spray you with perfume that smells real (maybe they keep some real perfume on hand for this purpose).
If you show the least bit of interest, as my husband did (despite my glares), they will just latch on and won?t let you go. Now, I like a bargain as much as the next guy. I don?t care about brand names, either. But believe me, this is no bargain. A knock-off of a luxury item should be hard to tell from the original ? which is NOT the case here.
After my dear husband bought three of these ?perfumes? for a fabulous bargain price, I made said: Okay, what?s done is done. We?ll give them as gifts. When we got home, we opened one carefully to get a sneak peek before giving it away. While the boxes looked nice, the bottles were cheap imitations with atomizers painted to look like shiny chrome and plastic tops. The stuff inside was not water, but neither was it perfume. If anything, it was some kind of watered down aftershave.
Not to be deterred, we found a use for them ? as a bathroom spray.
A walk at Istiklal Cadessi
Istiklal Caddesi is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, Turkey visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day over the course of weekends. Located in the historic Beyoðlu district, it is an elegant pedestrian street, approximately three kilometers long, which houses exquisite boutiques, music stores, bookstores, art galleries, cinemas, theaters, libraries, cafés, pubs, night clubs with live music, historical patisseries, chocolateries and restaurants. The avenue, surrounded by the unique nineteenth century Turkish architecture, starts from the medieval Genoese neighbourhood around Galata Tower and ultimately leads up to Taksim Square.
Come in the daytime for shopping, in the evening for strolling and people-watching, supper in one of the many restaurants, a drink in a cafe or bar and some music at a nearby night club.
FUN DAY FOR THE FAMILY
A days outing that will delight the whole family is at the Rahmi Koc museum. There is something for everyone here.
On display are a lot of old Children's toys, large and small. Toy dolls, Cars, Warships, Boats, Trains and more.
There is even a toy shop to have a look in, it displays toys from the 1700's.
There are hands on displays, these are computer simulators, experiments, Aircraft and Cars that can be sat in and more.
And if you get tired at looking at all the Museum exhibits, the children have a lovely Playground to keep them occupied in, and you have a nice Cafe to enjoy that afternoon tea.
You could spend a whole day here!
ADMISSION IN 2009 was 10t/l
Buses 47 or 54, Bus stop right outside the Museum
Address: Rahmi M Koc Museum
Haskoy Cad. No: 5
Haskoy 34445 - Istanbul
Tel: (0)212 369 66 00-01-02