A walk through the Edirnekapı neighborhood to get to the Chora church, which just happened to be perched upon a hill.
The neighborhood was pretty run down. I don't know if I'd be walking around here late at night, but it seemed to be quiet during the day.
We stumbled into a few small churches: St. Stephen's Bulgarian:
and a tiny church of St. Mary's. We had to ring a buzzer and have a guardian show us around St Marys, as I don't think they get a lot of visitors.
Both were tiny and kind of hard to find as they were behind high walls, but worth seeking out.
The whole walk up the hill and we didn't see too many tourist, but once we got to the Chora church, it was back to status quo.
The interior of the church is completely plastered with mosaics and frescos of bible scenes, most of which have been beautifully restored. It's fairly off the beaten track and worth seeking out. You will be a bit dizzy and sore from craning your neck skywards for such a long period of time. Or be clever and bring a mirror so you won't have to!
Afterwards, a really lovely lunch next door at a place that specialized in old ottoman recipes, and then a walk along the old city walls to the Golden Horn ferry. The area around the wall was pretty run-down, with people living in squats and abandoned lots. I didn't linger.
We headed back to Fatih to the Spice Bazaar. First, we couldn't resist stopping for a lovely meat-infused pide.
And then to stock up on what is reported to be the best Turkish delight in the city.
I'm not a huge fan of the candy to begin with, but I must admit that these were pretty good. They were very fresh-fruit tasting, where you could actually tell that something was strawberry or apricot, and not just food coloring and sugar water flavored.
We wandered the 17th century vaulted ceilings of the Spice Bazaar. Sensory overload! While a great many stalls are devoted to tchokies and designer knockoffs, there are still a great deal of food and spices being dealt. It's pretty inexpensive, so I used the opportunity to stock up on sumac, urfa pepper and nigella seeds.
And then off to Sultanahmet to see the enormous Blue Mosque up close. This is the kind of the cherry on the ice cream cake of mosques in this city. It's enormous, with redwood-tree sized pillars supporting the soaring domes.
We put it off to the next day, but the sublime Haya Sofia loomed close by... And then back to Beyoglu for kepabs with friends. I couldn't get enough kebaps while I was here. I never seem to tire of grilled meat, especially when you get a good variety of meze to kick things off.