I might have spoke prematurely. After an absolutely incredible first day in Istanbul, and one that had us getting a full night sleep after the 14+ hours of flying, things didn't go as well last night. We got back to our room from the amazing dinner at Nicole at 11pm and fell asleep shortly after. Unfortunately we woke up at around 3AM and were up until breakfast at 8AM. A couple of hours of sleep was not ideal.
The weather forecast for today called for 100% chance of showers. When we woke up at the crack of dawn it was raining pretty good. By the time we got up to breakfast at 8AM, the clouds had parted and the morning was nothing but crystal blue skies. We had breakfast at another window view overlooking Istanbul which is something we could both absolutely get used to. We both went with the same lineup for breakfast. Jenn started with her pancakes and had eggs over easy. I went with a bunch of different cheese, meats, and fruits and also got eggs over easy. I also got a cup of coffee and a cappuccino to try to make up for the lack of sleep.
When we got done with breakfast we made our way down to the lobby to print out our boarding passes for our flight to Santorini and to book a ride to the airport. Once we got that done we headed out for yet another amazing day in Istanbul. We walked down to the metro station and got off a stop earlier then yesterday, at the Gulhane stop to go see the Topkapi Palace a short walk from the metro station. I didn't mention this yesterday and I should have, Jenn has done an incredible job navigating Turkey. Whether it be on the metros or the city streets she has gotten us around with ease.
We made the short walk to the Topkapi Palace, purchased our tickets at an automated kiosk and headed in. We walked around the former residence of the Ottoman Sultans, toured the various museums, and even enjoyed the beautiful outlook points of the ocean and the gorgeous day. Did I mention how blessed we were with weather? We both were dressed for winter but in all honesty a pair of jeans and a t-shirt would have been plenty.
We stayed at the Topkapi Palace for an hour and then made the short walk back to the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. As I mentioned earlier today was even prettier so before making our way to the Grand Bazaar we took a ton of pictures in the square again. Well actually Jenn took a ton of pictures and I mostly watched her take the pictures and enjoy the beautiful day in Istanbul.
From there we were off on a mile or so walk to the Grand Bazaar. On the way to the Grand Bazaar we saw the shop that we had missed so much over the last couple of days, Starbucks. I saw Jenns face light up and we literally not figuratively ran towards it. Jenn got her classic hot chocolate which the barista made fun of her for calling her an American and I decided against more caffeine after the crazy amount I had for breakfast. We hung out in the Starbucks for 15 minutes or so and then made our way to the Grand Bazaar.
There is nothing in this world that can prepare you for the madness that is the Grand Bazaar. Its 3,000+ shops with over 250K people visiting it on average a day. It's insane and I'm not even sure what else I could possibly say to put this into perspective. There are just rows, upon rows, upon rows, upon rows of shops. And all of them look the same. It seems like it would make for an absolutely devastating challenge on The Amazing Race. We started on a straight path and at some point we veered off and two hours later we found our way out of the Bazaar. It was one of the most surreal experiences we've ever had. Each shop is about the size of a walk in closet and every row just seems to be more of the same. The shops range from clothes, food, jewelry, trinkets, and all sorts of other items. Once we finally found our way out (which was no easy feet and required a dozen u-turns) we stopped at a small spice shop and purchased some cooking spices.
Once we finally made our way out of the Bazaar we headed towards the Blue Mosque area where there are tons of restaurants to choose from. We landed on a place called Loti Cafe. Jenn got her go-to spaghetti with meat sauce and I got the turkish kebab. Both were really good at the time. Unfortunately after we got off the metro and back to our TomTom Suites we found out that the food didn't necessarily enjoy us all that much.
We got back to our hotel a little after 3PM and were both wiped. After only getting a couple of hours of sleep the night before and still recovering from the international flight we needed to get some rest. I put the do not disturb sign out and told Jenn to wake me up in 2 hours. A little over two hours later we both woke up not feeling any more rested. Needless to say we closed all the blinds and called it a night. We were such party animals we called it a night at 5PM. This is the life of international travelers.
Although our day was cut a little short by pure exhaustion we still had yet another great day in Istanbul. I cannot over emphasize how much we have loved our time in Istanbul. The people have all been super friendly, we've felt safe everywhere we go, and the city is both clean and beautiful. Istanbul has been a truly wonderful experience and I'm surprised to be saying that I know both Jenn and I are sad we're leaving.