Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Istanbul is the ancient Constantinople, which straddles two continents - Europe and Asia. It's huge, but not as overwhelming as some big cities, because it's low-rise and spread around the confulence of the Sea of Marmara and the entrance of the Bosporus Strait that connect the sea to the Black Sea. Sea traffic is huge and endlessly fascinating.
View of the Bosporus at dinner at Ocean 7 restaurant, near our Empress Zoe Hotel. We're in a perfect location in Sultanamet, just downhill from Hagia Sopia and the Blue Mosque. The hotel was created from an ancient Hamam (bathhouse), with a charming courtyard - a oasis of cool and quiet in a crowded city, a roof terrace that has fantastic views of the Bosporus Strait entrance and the Sea of Marmara, and the city the other direction.The rooms here are simple, but well furnished, including marble baths with both western showers and Hamam basins you fill with water and use a silver bowl to pour water over yourself. Lucky can hardly begin to describe our good fortune.