Tuesday, August 28, 2012

wanderlust: istanbul

I absolutely adore Istanbul. The city evocatively blends East and West, old and new-and the shopping is bar none! Here are a few suggestions.

One of my don’t-miss sites in Istanbul is the diminutive Rustem Pasa mosque, tucked away near the Spice Bazaar. Every surface is covered with blue Iznik tiles, and it’s a quiet respite from the bustle outside. In this space the colors are dramatic, but the palette really could be used in any space.
Photo: Stephanie Dosch

On my last trip, I had a great meal at Hamdi. Reserve ahead and ask for a table with a view so you can chow down on delicious kebab (roasted meat) while taking in the New Mosque, the Bosphorus, and the Galata Bridge. Kalçin Sokak 17, Eminonu

Photo: Stephanie Dosch

Cocktail Hour
Admittedly still on my to-do list, Istanbul 360 is my top pick for a rooftop cocktail with a view (I usually crash early after so much sightseeing). Order something with the ubiquitous jet fuel the Turks call raki. Istiklal Caddesi 163, Mısır Apartment (8th Floor), Beyoglu

Photo: Istanbul 360

Take a cue from traditonal Turkish mamas and go for the slouchy pants. Carry a roomy tote for all those purchases and wear shoes you can easily slip off and a scarf you can throw over your head and shoulders when visiting mosques. For evening cocktails, swap in some dangly earrings, a chunky cuff, a spangled clutch and cobalt heels.

IMO, Istanbul is the best city in the world for shopping, making it hard to pick just one place-so I’m not going to! Here are some favorite purveyors:
Cocoon - A high-quality shop that sells a bit of everything; I go for tribal textiles and great jewelry. Küçükayasofya Caddesi 17, Sultanahmet
Istanbul Modern - This contemporary art museum has a fabulous gift shop. Meclis-i Mebusan Caddesi, Tophane

Photo: Stephanie Dosch

Dervis and Abdulla Natural Products - Across from each other in the Grand Bazaar. They have the best olive-oil soaps, as well as hamam bowls and towels. Halicilar Caddesi 51 and 62, Grand Bazaar

Photo: Stephanie Dosch

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