After a scare on the day of my flight which started with a cancellation notice, followed by some flight changes that ended with a 16 hour travel day, I arrived in Istanbul to join my friends Ted, Carla, and Angela, who were waiting at the apartment in Fatih, an ancient part of the city.
We went for dinner at a shop around the corner, enjoyed some Rose Wine (that is rose, as in steeped with rosehips) and a beautiful dinner, followed by complimentary housemade baklava. What an incredible way to start this adventure!
We followed our delicious dinner with a trip to one of the most famous dessert places in Istanbul, Haji Ismail Hakkizade Hafiz Mustafa, which was established in 1864.
I enjoyed dondurma for the first time. Rich and creamy and stretchy! Dondurma is an ice cream blended with orris root (aka sahlep), which makes it incredibly unctuous. I had a medley of all three flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, and Pistacio. The chocolate was particularly delicious.
My companion, Angela, had a sweet dish of Kunafa with Cheese, a baked shredded wheat with kayseri cheese which is soaked in syrup, tableside. It tasted delicious, too!
We walked the streets of Istanbul until much later than midnight, our feet taking us down the cobblestone streets past so many iconic buildings and structures, including the Egyptian obelisks that were brought to Istanbul over 2000 years ago. They are located in Hippodrome of Constantinople (today Sultanahmet Square, Istanbul, Turkey). Here is an image of one of them. I hope you enjoy my late night romp through this ancient city.