Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 7 " The Agatha's Restaurant at Pera Palas

Seeing that we had been lounging at the Orient Bar for some time - the manageress of the 'Agatha's Restaurant' came and showed us the menu at her restaurant and invited us to have our dinner there. The snow fall outside was heavy and the wind was very strong and it was easy for us to decide to just stay on and have our dinner at the Pera Palas's restaurant.
the 'Agatha's Restaurant' was one floor below the Orient Bar
this cup of a warm vegetable soup was compliments from the chef
we ordered the recommended plate of starters so as to sample
as many of the dishes on offer

pakdokter had the lamb fillet and pakdokter's partner
a fish dish for our mains

we shared this 'pretty' dessert before a cup of coffee to
keep us alert to walk back to our hotel.

Day 7 :The Orient Bar at Pera Palas

The temperature became too cold for us to walk the street, so we abandoned the idea of visitng the 'Istanbul Modern' - Istanbul's Museum of Modern Art'. Instead we walked back to the Pera Palas and decided to spend the late afternoon at its "Oreint Bar' where Ernest Hemingway spent his evenings when he was in Istanbul. A lady pianist entertained us to a series of piano concertos and evergreen tunes as we soaked in the 'aura' of the place and enjoyed our aperitifs.

The above picture is of a cafe with a library on one side.
A higly literate society, Turkey has produced many writers
including Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk.
in the Orient Bar with a picture of
?Sultan Murad on the wall....
a well-stocked bar

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 7 : A Day at the Pera Palas Hotel

It was too cold and windy to walk the streets and we headed straight to the Pera Palas Hotel. This is a historic hotel - being the final destination for the passengers of the ' Oriental Express' - the famed choo-choo train that ran from Paris to Istanbul - made famous by Agatha Christie in one of her many books - "Murder on the Orient Express". She was one of the distinguished guests of this hotel amongst many other luminaries which included the famous writer, Hemingway, and the actress Greta Garbo.
Pakdokter had stayed at this hotel during one of the earlier trips to Istanbul some 6 or 7 years ago. When pakdokter was last here 5 years ago, it was closed for renovation. It has been reopened a year or so ago and despite its polished and refreshed look, it has retained its old charm. The hotel Public Relation Officer took pakdokter and partner to a tour of the hotel. Unfortunately, Agatha Christie's room was occupied by a guest and was not available for tour. The hotel rooms today cost from 240 Euros a night.

jazz concerts on some nights at the Orient Bar
antique chandeliers and ornate roofs and walls

we warmed up to a glass of 'raki'
and a cup of cappucino

this 'antique' elevator is still functional

guests from the Orient Express used to be carried in this
from the train station to the hotel....

After the drinks we decided to walk back to Istiklal Kaddesi
and visited a jeweller we had befriended in one of the bazaars
during our last trip.
The same girl and her family is still operting the business
and is now marketing their works to UAE and Brunei?
We advised them to try come to Malaysia.

this narrow street is lined with restaurants, pubs, bistros and bars

Day 7: Snow in Istanbul

The weather in Istanbul had become increasingly colder over the week. We woke up to find that the city was raining snow and the side-streets were covered by a layer of overnight snow.
We wanted to walk down to the Galata district and on the way visit the historic Pera Palas Hotel. Despite having just had a sumptous breakfast at the hotel - we found this little borek shop just around the corner of our hotel and could not resist the temptation to try out their delicious-looking pastries. So we escaped the freezing and windy street into the warmth of this shop and ordered hot coffee and varieties of 'boreks' sold at the shop.

the ones below had cheese fillings and
the ones on top had spicy minced lamb fillings

the sides of the streets were blanketed with overnight snow

Day 6 : Dinner @ the SultanAhmet Koftesi

We finished touring the Topkapi late in the afternoon and decided to walk to the Blue Mosque to capture its beauty under the evening light. Finishing that we decided to dine at the SultanAhmet Koftesi - an old restaurant very much like our very own 'the Coliseum' along Batu Road.
these 'rotic-canai-like' crepes had fillings of cheese

'old feel' to the decor of the 'koftesi'...
tender beef and lamb kebabs with a plate of salads to share...

we also shared this plate of a chocolate rice pudding...

Day 6: Topkapi 1

The Topkapi Museum was once the palace of the Ottoman Sultans until the last sixth or seventh Sultan decided to build the Dolmabahce Palace on the shores of the Bhosphorus. As at the Dolmabahce Palace - the tour was also divided into the main palace and the 'harem' section.
Pakdokter must have visited this palace 3 or 4 times during previous visits to Istanbul - and it must be admitted that the museum caretakers have been improving the exhibits with better and clearer explanation of the exhibits. In many sections of the exhibition halls - pictures were not allowed. One could easily spend a whole day at this museum, learning about the history and the lifestyle of the Ottoman rulers.

the Humayun Gate - entrance to the Topkapi

the Imperial Council Hall
kind of a Parliament House
of the Ottoman ministers

the palace kitchen used to have an exhibiton of ceramic collection

the hall where foreign ambassadors were received