I’ve now been traveling for one week, and this is the point on any trip when I start to get tired and miss sleeping in my own bed. My Istanbul adventure, of course, is no exception. According to my FitBit, I have walked 140, 423 steps–about 60 miles–so far this week! It also claims that I’ve climbed maybe a few dozen stairs, but that is damn near impossible, because there are stairs ALL OVER THE PLACE here. My calves and glutes are killing me! I better come back home looking like J.Lo.
I’ve also discovered that in addition to being delicious, Turkish food wreaks absolute havoc on my stomach. Everything I’ve eaten here has been really good, but Turks use so much oil and salt in their dishes and I’ve never been sure exactly which type of meat I’ve been eating as I’ve gobbled various fare from the local street carts. I’ve been having uncontrollable heartburn that the pharmacy’s antacid tablets have only been a minor deterrent against. Luckily, all variations of bread that I’ve tried here are phenomenal, so I’ve been subsisting mostly on simit and other plain, carb-based goodness for the past 48 hours because I can’t stomach the thought of more oily borek or the tender mystery meats soaking in red sauce under the heat lamps at the lokantasi. *sigh*
Today I woke up late in Beyoglu and enjoyed a simple Turkish breakfast at my hostel. Like other Mediterranean countries, breakfast is indistinguishable from any other meal. There’s usually a salad with cucumber, tomato, and cheese and olives on the side along with fruit and bread. Of course I did not eat the olives, because they are the devil.
I trammed it/walked the rest of the way from my hostel in Beyoglu to my Super Fancy Hotel in Besiktas, widely considered by many to be the best neighborhood in Istanbul. The walk along the Bosporus was quite nice; I had read that the straight was somewhat polluted, but I didn’t see any evidence of that. In fact the water is a clear, light blue and I could see dozens of LITTLE BITTY JELLYFISH everywhere! I got a pic, but they’re pretty hard to see.
I walked past Dolmabache Palace, which I will visit tomorrow, since I was carrying my pack and didn’t want to drag it through the museum with me. This is where the sultans moved because for some reason Topkapi Palace (which I featured in Day One) got old. Those guys had it made.
I arrived at my Super Fancy Hotel very sweaty, as I have been pretty much all week. (Seriously. My clothes are nasty.) I don’t know if you guys know this, but it’s kind of a big deal; I’m a Hilton Honors Gold member,* so they hooked me up with an executive suite. The view is…okay. I guess I can get used to it. 😉
*Literally the only cool/exclusive thing about me.
I think this is the first time I’ve ever stayed in a five-star hotel. Anyway, it’s pretty great, and I definitely picked the perfect time during the trip to stay here! Hostels are great but they are not, of course, always super rich amenities-wise. Looking forward to catching up on some sleep, relaxing by the pool, and hopefully finding something to eat that doesn’t destroy my insides.
Tomorrow I’ll visit Dolmabache, the famous Ortakoy mosque, the eclectic Ortakoy street market, and Mackas Park, which I’ve been told is the best park in Istanbul.