We slept solidly, barely noticing the morning call to prayer. After breakfast and showers we dressed (in the end over estimating our tolerance for the cold) and headed towards the Hippodrome to catch the tram across the bridge to “new” Istanbul. A quick funicular trip up the side of the ridge and we were near the “Main Street” which is apparently compared to the likes of the Champs Elysees but we really did not see any resemblance.
I think “new” is a relative term because we were quite used to buildings in various states of collapse and repair and saw them aplenty in this quarter also. We wandered the length of the street, getting colder and cursing our lack of planning extra layers, thawing out by visiting shops to pretend to browse. Lots of big names, few people but that may have been the hour we visited, things had just opened and I imagine it gets really busy.
We found the side streets much more interesting as they meandered dangerously narrowly between hillocks and blocks of buildings, stores in every nook, selling everything you could imagine (and quite a bit outside normal imaginings).
We had been told to search out a particular fish sandwich stand, whose product was a standout, after much searching and quite a bit of avoiding salesmen, we came across the place, ordered lunch and awaited in a tent next to a wood burning stove to get warm.
Our lunch was grilled fish (mackerel I think) deboned, de-skinned, in a flat bread with spicy salad, rolled and grilled with herbs and sumac – this fish sandwich was a little like a doner kebab (except we knew who the donor was) – a delicious and different meal. Suitably supped, we took the tram back to Sultanhamet and walked to the mosaic museum under the Arista Bazar.
Amazing and ancient 6th century mosaics, tiny tesserae combined to make scenes of astonishing beauty. We opted out of the Bosphorus cruise – it was cold, blowy, rough and hazy, we figured we would see less than yesterday’s ferry trip and neither of us enjoyed the prospect of being cold and seasick. Returning to our digs a little early, we had a chance for a much needed rest, nana nap before heading out to dinner (this time dressed warmly).
Lesson learnt from today: layers matter, always take more than you think you will need as early morning in your accommodation is rarely a good indicator of outside temperature or wind chill factor.