Turkey – Istanbul, 15 December 2010

We arrived in Istanbul in the evening, and was welcomed to the city by a light drizzle. Being that late, there was little we could do, but have dinner, and have an early night.

The hotel recommended a barbeque kebab place near the Blue Mosque. It was a little on the pricey side (mains are around 15TL/~10 USD), but it was delicious and filling. I tried the Adana kebab (11 TL/ ~7 USD), which I guess is a specialty from Adana. I found it a little too salty for my palate. My friend ordered lamb (16TL/~10USD), which was excellent, too. The restaurant gave us a complementary dessert, and little trinkets as souvenirs for dining there.

The hotel we checked into, Rast Hotel, prides itself for its excellent view of the sights – Hagia Sofia and Blue Mosque. We booked the hotel for this reason, and so after dinner, we decided to check out the view from the rooftop restaurant.

The view was indeed spectacular, as advertised. We could see these two Turkish landmarks beautifully lit at night. We busily snapped away, despite the cold drizzle.

Rast Hotel is a midrange boutique hotel that is about five minutes walk from the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, and ten minutes walk from the Grand Bazaar. It is near the Sultanahmed Metro stop. Our triple room cost us 25 Euros per person per night, and for staying with them for three nights, there was a free one-way airport transfer. Included in the price was an excellent breakfast at the rooftop.

The bedrooms have a very classy design, and the triple was spacious, with a little balcony overlooking the street below. I guess the most uninspiring part of the hotel was the bathroom. It was functional, but not spectacular. The hotel has some tours, but they do cost quite a bit. Nevertheless, the staff was pretty helpful – I needed an international plug to charge my computer. Although they ran out of plugs, they sent someone to buy some for me the next day.

Triple Room in Rast Hotel

Istanbul at night

Blue Mosque from Rast Hotel

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