Ergun, my brother-in-law, and good friend, scouts the most interesting places to visit. On June 29 we visited the Covered Bazaar for some last minute shopping then went to the Tunel district in old Pera. The first stop was an interesting bookstore which seemed to specialize in historical publications. We saw some interesting books, Ergun purchased a few and we started walking down towards the Galata Tower. It was built by the Genoese in mid 14th century. Its walls are about 10 feet thick, no wonder it still stands tall.
The tower is very impressive from the ground level with a height of 220 feet. There is a hotel directly across from the tower, Hotel Anemon which serves food and drinks at its roof. We took the elevator there and the imposing tower looked even more so and felt almost touchably close. I could see the tourists on its circular walk taking pictures with the flash firing! As we enjoyed some drinks, I looked down to see a group of a cappella musicians singing to an audience. Also interesting was to see the darting swallows around the tower. They made occasional stops in one or more of the holes on its wall. While sitting there, I saw a young boy with a Celtics shirt and started a conversation. The family returned from the US to live in Istanbul and were showing their friends the view from the Anemon roof. It turned out that the name of their little girl was also Mina.
After the drinks, we took the elevator down. The walk continued through the streets of the old city. Some of the buildings there go back to the 13-14th century, most were from the 19th century. Walk downhill was not too bad, we took some long stairs down to the lower end of the short subway there at Karakoy. The next stop was the Grifin Fish Restaurant (aka Tarihi Karakoy Balik Lokantasi). It has served the people in the area since 1923 on the first floor of the Grifin Han. Now they have a fancier roof restaurant which serves only dinner, lunch is still served on the ground level.
The view from the top overlooks the Golden Horn and spans all the way from Sarayburnu where Topkapi Palace is, to Unkapani on the right. I would guess it is about 140-degree view. The light was very nice, soft and warm. It got warmer later and as the sun went down the clouds turned reddish orange and put on a great show. The old building next to Grifin Han, Kurşunlu Han was very interesting but in dire need of repair. I learned earlier today that plans to restore that building are afoot. I am very glad.
We enjoyed the appetizers, the selection is limited but everything was delicious. The fish we ordered was the best I had during this visit to Turkey. We saw the sunset in our glasses, very satisfied in many ways, returned home. Here are the photographs from this expedition.