Another small surprise today at breakfast, our friend Ahmet had apparently visited the hotel yesterday evening – luckily we were out!!! This guy was turning into a serial stalker…. !! He had left us two boxes of Turkish Delights with a long “love letter”!! Me and Jayesh were cracking up big time, the girls had invited this upon them. The only good thing out of this were the sweets.
Next stop was a visit to the Topkapi Palace, again a walking distance from our Hotel. We loved the location of our hotel – Efendi, so central.
The walk took us past the Blue Mosque, the central square was very crowded today, lots of tour buses were around – three cruise ships had docked, and it seemed most of their passengers were out an about.
Made our way through the Palace main gates to big open yards.
Got to the main entrance where everyone was being scanned and all bags were being x-rayed, it is there after all the queues we realised we needed tickets to get through!! Doh!! Me and Jayesh headed back to outside the entrance to purchase these, how did we miss that! Finally got them, we were now able to go inside without trespassing …. wooohooo !!
Next was lunch, decided to have that at the Topkapi palace cafe, which had amazing views of the Bosphorous as well. With the limited number of tables, Nita reserved a seat for us, whilst the rest of us (3) went to get the lunches – it was a buffet system. In the queue we were stalked!!! our serial stalker Ahmet was back, and he wanted more, Priya could not believe her eyes when he tapped her ….. He started asking about how we had not turned up at his recommended restaurant, to which Priya came up with some interesting twisted stories… he had called the restaurant to confirm if we had turned up or not (this guy was real creepy). He soon left us alone in the queue, and we were like phew!!! On with our buffet and more laughs at Priya…… However this was not the end, he is no ordinary stalker, whilst we were in the queue, he somehow managed to find Nita, and got a seat right next to the one Nita was reserving for us. Nita during that time could not think straight at all, she was alone at this table and Ahmet was there asking her why they had not turned up at the restaurant… and Nita lied that we had!, ….. now we had two stories, even Ahmet was confused!! LOL . He grilled Nita on what we had done in the last few days and what our plans were going forward, all along Nita made some crap up and kept feeding that to him , apparently he was enjoying that story!! We were surprised to see him sitting there next to us, Priya chose a seat the furthest from him and all sat down totally ignoring him. It was only towards the end, we said some very very quick byes and thanked him for the sweets and left. That was the last we saw of Ahmet…. phew!!!
(on the way out of Topkapi Palace)
We then took some alleyways exploring our way to the river piers for the afternoon cruise. It was a nice long walk, passing some amazing tea houses.
We reached the pier around 3pm, and had a mass of tour guides trying to sell us the different cruises. Luckily we had read up on this, the smaller operators were just a reap off, and we could explore the same thing on the government operated cruises on much larger vessels. We even had some operators blatantly lying that the government vessels were cancelled etc…. some really good reasons coming up.
Finally we got on to the cruise and were off at 3:30 pm. The boat was big and nicely air-conditioned –which was a big plus, given the Istanbul afternoon heat. The cruise was very relaxing, with some very scenic sights going past us…
The cruise finished around 5:30pm, we walked back to the Sultanahmet area. The walk was at a leisurely pace. Reached the dinning precincts (opp Blue Mosque) and headed for Dubb Indian again! Girls were in no mood for Turkish cuisine.
We met their head chef, Vinod Chawhan, real nice guy and he made our last dinner in Sultanahmet very nice.
Called it an early nite, everyone was quite tired, last sleep in Sultanahmet, tomorrow we are off to the new Istanbul side – Taksim!