Thursday, 16 April 2015

When In Istanbul

Colorful lamps in Grand Bazaar Istanbul
Spoiler Alert: This post contains a lot of photos!
Lately I am longing for vacations. This is the phase when my heart says, "Let's escape somewhere!"
Unfortunately real life doesn't always synchronize with what heart says. I need to adapt with this new life as a mom, new situations (mostly very unpredictible) and in August I will start to work again after maternity leave. A lot of things to learn instead of vacations.
Yesterday I was looking at our photos in Istanbul. That feeling strikes me again. I wish I could go somewhere outside of Switzerland. Even to visit my sister in Germany sounds so exotic to me. Trust me, it is that chronical. So I am writing this post as a self-remedy :o)
People do different things to show how they enjoy their vacations. Let me share to you all how J and I enjoy our times in Istanbul. Although this post will contain many photos, I do hope you all will enjoy it!

Local food in Aksaray
What is holiday without trying local food and drinks? J and I love to try food from small restaurants or food stalls. As long as they don't contain something totally strange, we don't mind to try local food.
The cheapest tea during vacation!
In Istanbul we drink tea every day. J loves Turkish coffee so he never missed the chance to enjoy traditional coffee too. I still remember that we had the cheapest tea in Istanbul.
Two cups for 1 Turkish Lira!
We also bought many times the snacks Süt Burger. I guess the translation is something like Milk Burger. J picked that snacks randomly while buying water at the supermarket. It turned out that we love it!
We love Süt Burger!
One of the things that I still miss from Istanbul is to drink Pomegranate juice. I bought this juice almost every day. Sometimes I also like to mix Pomegranate with Orange juice. You all need to try this, very refreshing!

Right: Pomegranate juice
Left: Pomegranate & Orange juice
We also tried Pilav. Rice dish cooked with broth, meat or fish, spices and dried friuts. They said this dish even served to Alexander the Great at the royal banquet. There are some versions of Pilav and it can be found in Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia until East Africa. Pilav that we ate in Istanbul was with chicken and peas.


Here are Turkish culinary that we tried in Istanbul:

Turkish pizza
Don't forget to try coffee beans coated with chocolate from Hafiz Mustafa
Love it!!!
I can't get enough of sweets at Pasta Sanati
This made you forget diet!

You must try Künefe (sweet cheese pastry) at Hafiz Mustafa.
Ayran (Turkish yoghurt drink) is a must try! 

Okay, we didn't eat all of Baklava
In conclusion, we ate brutally a lot! :D
Traditional Market
I do believe, traditional market represents how people in one country live. It is the place where you could see people from many professions. It amuses me to go to traditional market and see how the locals trade.
In Istanbul we did not miss to visit the famous Grand Bazaar. This huge place was constructed in 1461 and has over 3.000 shops! We went to Grand Bazaar an hour after we arrived in Istanbul. We did not buy anything there (sometimes too tired to always bargain) and always be careful not to get lost in this trading mozaic. Instead, we found a tiny tea shop and had tea there.
Let me share some photos from Grand Bazaar and other markets in Istanbul (unfortunately I can't recall all of the other markets' names):
Tiny tea shop at Grand Bazaar
Spices and wine leaves
Cheese, anyone??
Variety of tea at Grand Bazaar

Public Transportations

In Istanbul we used tram most of the time. If you want to take tram, first you have to buy jeton from Jetonmatik (costs 3 Turkish Lira) and this jeton will give you access to enter tram stop. But I also saw that some people jump over to go through. It's not easy to find the seat on the tram, I preferred to stand anyway.


This is how the jeton looks like
In Taksim we also saw the famous old tram. Unfortunately we didn't take the ride, time was so limited :o(
Classic tram in Taksim

Rush hours in Istanbul

Hidden Places

In order to avoid the areas packed with tourist, we explore small quarters. Aksaray is the quarter that we passed on the way to Grand Bazaar. In this area we hardly found tourist. Here we didn't have to hear people calling or promoting what they sell. Not to mention the prices are local prices, so we didn't worry to be cheated. In Aksaray we found a small coffee tea shop. Since usually men visit coffee/tea shop, my existence there was quite unusual.

Me exploring Aksaray
Pay attention how one of the men looked at us behind me :D

Prices in Aksaray
Reasonable, affordable
TRY 1 = USD 0,37

Other small place we found was Otantik Café, the place is located near Gatata tower. This small coffee shop owned and served by an old man. The place was filled with unique old vintage decoration, the kind of place where you can have quiet moments, reading time or simply writing postcards.

Otantik Café

Decoration in Otantik Café

While exploring one of the area we found a sweet Finan Café and decided to stop by. The owner is a young friendly lady who served us nicely. The room has high cieling. Walls and cieling decorated with interesting images made by the owner. It's in the area where many students hang out, they don't only have traditional coffee and tea but also tiramisu.

While in Istanbul I used almost every day my brown fur stola from Leonardo. It's a perfect piece for my outfit, since we visited mosques. I can simply used the maxi collar to cover my head. My second favorite piece would be Zara statement necklace. I will share my outfit during the vacations. My face looked so tired, but at least the smile reflected how I enjoyed the trip.

Stola: Leonardo, Top: Please, Trousers: Mango, Sunglasses: Tom Ford, Bag: Prada

Top: Vila, Statement Necklace: Zara

Mantel: Zara

Wishing you guys nice holiday (in case you are planning one)!



  1. I loved reading this post Ika! The pictures are gorgeous, it makes me want to visit Turkey too!

  2. I can feel you. I would love to go on a vacation too. Istanbul is an amazing city. I hope I can visit one day. Boy I wish Germany was exotic. The weather in April sucks as always.


  3. Love this post!
    Check my blog

  4. Amazing pictures & nice post :)