On our way back from Bodrum we stayed in Istanbul for a few days. This was when protests had been going on for two weeks in Taksim Square over a park that is supposedly going to be turned into a shopping center and parking lot. Seems this was the “hair that broke the camel’s back”, as the protests grew into anger over what some of the Turkish people see as Prime Minister Erdrogan’s strong Islamic position that he is trying to bring more into what has been mostly a secular country up to now. On the Saturday when we left the army came in with water guns and pepper spray and ousted all the people from the park who had been camping there. I don’t think this is the end of it though.
We stayed at the Seraglio hotel, which is just beside the Blue Mosque, inside a renovated older home. Very clean, good service, modern rooms, comfortable beds and pillows and excellent breakfast buffet. We ate at the Kayikci Restaurant on Ticarethane Sk., which was very good. We had the usual, the mezze (eggplant, humus, yogurt, etc.), greek-style salad and calamari along with a half-bottle of red wine (Yatuk). Reds seem to be better than the whites in Turkey, our opinion. Turasan, from Cappadoccio is decent as well. Wines are expensive, we believe this is because of high taxing by the the current leadership which is Muslim leaning and against drinking. One way to stop people from drinking; make it too expensive to do so.
Did what everyone should do, visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar, Topkapi Palace along with a lot of walking. And yes, we did leave town with a carpet!