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Thread: Turkey

  1. #1
    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Turkey

    Turkey was amazing! The sheer age of the country is mindblowing and the people are generally kind and welcoming. There seems to be some movement away from the culture of hard core bargaining but it varies a lot from store to store.

    My biggest caveat about Turkey is the fact that totally nonsmoking hotel in Turkey often means that no one is smoking in your room at the moment. As a person who is asthmatic and EXTREMELY sensitive to smoke this came close to ruining my trip several times. The tour guide seemed to think that MUST have a nonsmoking room means "I don't like the smell of smoke" until I had a bit of a meltdown.

    This picture captures their attitude perfectly and no, there was not a balcony where the ashtray might have been used without breaking the ban.
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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Arasta Bazaar behind the blue Mosque is much more user friendly than the Grand Bazaar. The Mosaic Museum is hidden in the middle of it. Pasazade, the restaurant at the Erboy Hotel is excellent, reasonable and very willing to adapt for special diets. As an added bonus they don't grab you off the street, allowing their menu and atmosphere to speak for themselves.

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    Istanbul is a phenomenal city.

    The Grand Bazaar (pictured) = sensory overload.

    It is fun to get lost in, but the GB can start to feel oppressive after a while: I found I preferred the Spice Market (or Egyptian Bazaar) in Eminonu.

    Thanks for bringing back great memories and for the Arasta tip... will look for it if/when I make it back.

    Wonderful No Smoking sign vs. Ashtray juxtaposition, too.
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    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    I didn't even have to group them. They were sitting that way on the table!

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    Turkey is such an amazing place--we spent a month there a couple of years ago and I've been dying to go back ever since. Best Roman ruins in the world, fantastic food, and traveling there is so reasonably priced compared to most of Europe.

    The smoking thing, though, is hard to deal with in some parts of the world, including Turkey. I was on a train once in Poland in a non-smoking car--two of our compartment-mates casually lit up and simply stood by the open window of the compartment! (I think Polish trains have gone all no-smoking nowadays, but as to the interpretation of what 'no smoking' means, well, that's likely still a work in progress.) China has historically been one of the worst places for smoking in public places, though it is slowly changing. I see more and more 'no smoking' signs in Chinese urban areas, though not in small towns yet. I've become a lot more sensitive to smoke in recent years and find it hard to believe we ever allowed smoking in places like airplanes, restaurants, and even doctor's offices! Here's hoping that the world becomes more and more smoke-free for everyone's sakes
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    Turkey is one of my favorite places in the world and Istanbul is in my top 3 favorites cities. This is after traveling there only once in 2008 for a 3 week trip. I spent a week in Istanbul then the rest of the time on a tour (I was the only U.S.-American in our group of 15 and I love that). The people are so friendly, the food amazing (ah, mezes...), the history and sites incomparable, and well, the fact that it is still reasonable cost wise helps, too. I am going to Italy for two weeks this fall and am starting with an all-too-brief 2 day stopover in Istanbul on the way out (Turkish Air flies direct to Istanbul out of DC and you can get incredible deals). I could talk about Turkey forever. I'm so glad you also loved it!

    As for the smoking, well, I encountered lots of smoking but was able to get away from it as needed. I don't have the allergies you do, however, jannilee and that is a whole new level.

  7. #7
    Registered User jannilee's Avatar
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    Do you have a hotel yet in Istanbul? We stayed at the Erboy and it was great - helpful staff, great location and fairly smoke free. Just ask for a room not on the fire escape!

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    I can recommend the Ayasofya Pensions which are just across the street from the beautiful Hagia Sophia itself. I see online that the Pensions have undergone a name change. They are beautiful old houses with a shared backyard eating area and breakfast was provided there. The neighborhood was easy to navigate around. My experience is from 15 years ago so please check recent reviews.

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    Jannilee, were you asking me about a hotel? If so (or not), we are staying at the Empress Zoe. It's a small boutique hotel just a 5 minute walk from Hagia (Aya?) Sofia, Blue Mosque, etc. The call to prayer really permeates everything in that location (which I love but at 5am, is another reason why I always--always!--travel with earplugs). In the past I stayed in SIDE Pension (there's also a hotel side) that is just up the street but we decided to go a little bit more upscale (not upscale, mind you, just a bit more upscale).

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    Oh oh oh!! I stayed at Empress Zoe years ago, when I traveled with a friend after grad school. I think the owner was on vacation (it was the dead of winter) and the hotel was empty but for us, because we were upgraded to the top floor. Such a charming place!! *blows kisses to the Empress*

    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    Jannilee, were you asking me about a hotel? If so (or not), we are staying at the Empress Zoe. It's a small boutique hotel just a 5 minute walk from Hagia (Aya?) Sofia, Blue Mosque, etc. The call to prayer really permeates everything in that location (which I love but at 5am, is another reason why I always--always!--travel with earplugs). In the past I stayed in SIDE Pension (there's also a hotel side) that is just up the street but we decided to go a little bit more upscale (not upscale, mind you, just a bit more upscale).
    jannilee and Holly like this.


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