Featured in this post is the Asian side of Istanbul – the not so touristy side of Istanbul. We started by walking to the Galata bridge to see the numerous fishermen who turn up there every day. We got some simit (sesame bread rings) from one of the many simit carts and got onto a ferry to Kadıköy. In a short 20 minutes, we travelled from Europe to Asia ☺
The sights and sound in Kadıköy were very vibrant and different from those in Sultanahmet. No more tour buses, just Istanbullus going about their busy lives. It was an insightful glimpse into the regular life of an Istanbul city dweller.
Kadıköy is known to be artsy, hip, have good cafes and is also home to Istanbul’s ‘Rodeo Drive’.
We stopped for lunch at Ciya Sofrasi and enjoyed a few kebaps and mezze platter. Some of the other dishes like intestines stuffed with rice and nuts didn’t exactly appeal to our palates. It is definitely an acquired taste. The grape leaf dolmas and stuffed eggplant and peppers were excellent.
As we walked along the side streets, we saw a tiny little door with a picture of beautiful garden cafe. Since our Turkish ain’t any good to be asking questions, we peeped inside to see if that seedy looking tiny door really did lead to a garden café. It sure did – it was a tea/coffee/hookah café set in a beautiful outdoor garden, with free WiFi, no less! We rested our tired legs and played a few rounds of Scrabble over cups of Turkish coffee and tea.
We then traced our way back to the Kadıköy docks and walked along the shoreline to the beautiful Haydarpasha station. After spending a few minutes there, we got back onto the continent hopping ferry.
Back in Sultanahmet, we spend some time near the Galata bridge, watching locals spend their Sunday evening. We got some balik ekmek from the sandwich boats. It is just a simple sandwich – grilled fish stuffed into half a loaf of bread, with a heap of lettuce thrown in. Salt and lemon juice is set up on little tables outside. The locals enjoy it with pickles in a ruby red pickle juice. It’s interesting to watch the sandwich guys man the grill and hand over the sandwiches, while the boat itself is swaying wildly.