Five star LivetoList in Turkey

Heads up – this is a long post, and doesn’t even begin to capture half the photos I want to share!
Let’s say five star LivetoList reared her head. The bathroom in our original Istanbul hotel was tiny, which was fine. However, the toliet didn’t flush strongly. There was black mouldy from a shower or toilet leak in the crevice between them which was visible from the door. Their was gold looking toliet roll holder and shower caddy and it was flaking. The electrics of above the vanity were visible. The towels were aged, but then mine had holes in it.
The guilty bathroom. I should note, new bathroom ended up also havin gblack mould. sigh

The guilty bathroom. I should note, new bathroom ended up also havin gblack mould. sigh

So onto the Internet I went to, looking up hotels we’d passed that seemed OK at least from the outside. In the end, I decided I would visit the nearest good looking one and inspect and confirm prices. Photos seemed good! So I set an alarm for 8am and went out alone to suss it out.
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The new room – the computer… well Rory was rebuilding his computer. This hotel would prove to add additional issues for our computers 🙁

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I actually loved this desk, and used it heaps!

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The bed of Sarah

The foyer listed the room rates, puzzling in euro given he then quoted me in euro. Anyhow, I’d made sure to have noted down what their direct website had quoted and he had come in just under.
So I returned to rouse Rory and have breakfast. I certainly didn’t find breakfast a strong reason to say where we were. We packed and departed.
I was nervous about “checking out” as we were meant to have four nights. The manager on was thankfully someone we’d not spoken to or met previously. He asked if anything was wrong, and as hard as it was, I thought it best to explain. It wasn’t right for us (OK, so I’m sure ror would have been just fine! There wasn’t anything to fault the bedroom – well air conned, TV, wifi, beds ok, pillows lumpy). Anyhow I outlined my discomforts. Then, surprisingly to me, he said, no charge. I suppose it’s just not something I’d considered. I figured we’d pay for our transfer and our one night. Their cancellation policy only outlined days prior etc, so I didn’t know what their policy might be. I did attempt more than one to settle things, but he wasn’t having it. Interestingly, id booked this hotel via email (rather than one of the aggregator sites), and they’d asked via email for all my credit card details. I didn’t feel ok about that, so have them some details but had arranged to pay in euros, cash, for a reduced rate. So this hopefully won’t mean any retrospective surprises on the credit card, though it would be fair.
Our new hotel is a number of stories higher. All breakfast places seem to be (from two hotels!) to be on the top floor. This one has spectacular views of the blue mosque, Hagia Sophia and the water. It’ll undoubtedly look awesome in the evening light too.
Hotel 2's breakfast rooftop view! Wow right?

Hotel 2’s breakfast rooftop view! Wow right?

After settling in (brother: use all the bathroom facilities), and dropping off some laundry at reception, which quoted twice the price for the service as our other hotel, we returned to the blue mosque. I was pointedly told I was a rude Brit for ignoring a friendly guy who “don’t worry I’m not a guide, I sell carpet”. He was telling us we couldn’t enter where we were approaching, which was nice, but similarly, if we don’t turn our heel immediately that’s ok too! I had drain pipes to photograph! After a few more false entries we worked out the gringo entry. It had a stall of borrow able robes and scarves for ladies and pull on modest skirts for the men. Hawt! Then, at entry, you remove your shoes and take a plastic bag. Not this green warrior – fold out bag was used. It had the benefit of fitting two pairs of shoes, hats and sunnies. We sat on the plush carpet and j half hoped we’d be allowed to stay to watch prayers. We waited and waited and as we decided to leave, they were deciding to evict the looky loos. Strangely, we didn’t hear the call to prayer for ages after that?!?
Inside the Blue MOsque, complete with Gringo modesty covers

Inside the Blue Mosque, complete with Gringo modesty covers. Oh, and that lovely carpet, kept lovely with a quick hoover.  Shoes weren’t permitted, so this shows some serious commitment!

Just wow right?

Just wow right?

Next we walked along the tram line to the grand bazaar. On our way, we saw a comedic charade of a small child getting Turkish icecream. Enticed by the show, Rory couldn’t find a reason for us to reject trying some. Further theatre for serving ours. They have a long metal stick and a tiny paddle on the end. Turkish icecream is more chewy than normal. So I feel like the banging is partly to get the darn stuff from stick to cup or cone. There was also lots of fake giving you your cup and pretending to drop it. Or, given its stickiness, they reclaim it with their long sticks. It’s seemed like a good deal for a show and an ice cream!
THis ice cream guy worked long hours, which was just fine, cause he was attractive enough to see a few times a day.

This ice cream guy worked long hours, which was just fine, cause he was attractive enough to see a few times a day.

The grad bazaar is not unlike other markets around the world. It’s undoubtedly older. And it has incredible cupolas everywhere. It has many gold/jewellers inside air conditioner stores. What else was there? Leather goods, though a lot less fake handbags than other places. We ended up outside the solid structure of the market and into the street where stalls continued. There were huge flags and similar strung up to add shade. Here, there was children’s clothing sets, many many blinged up gown stores, and sexy lady underwear stores. The underwear stores had what looked like plush cats beds but undoubtedly serve another purpose! There’s kebab stores on junctions of streets and they also always sell freshly squeezed juice. We just meandered, preferring to continue “down” rather than up the hill.
Grand bazaar

Grand bazaar

Thankfully we found ourselves not lost! We arrived at a corner where Rory had looked at flags (it otherwise was a makeshift stall for belts). We decided to pause and sit on some steps outside the post office museum. In a spurt of energy ?!? We then went to catch a boat to cruise around.
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Not the flag stall – these were in the Grand Bazaar

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Close up of an ornate ‘European’ style buuding right on the Bospherous shore

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HA! So I definitely feel asleep sitting upright whilst we were still sitting outside. This guy had a better idea!

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Only in days gone by, did I realise that THIS bridge was a HUGE scene of the coup that occured two weeks or so before we went to Turkey, The Bospherous bridge – between the two continent land masses

 

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So, one constant on our cheap ‘cruise’ was a vendor of food and drinks. Many passes with fresh OJ. The first time he came past with the pictured, we said no, but they we got curious! It was a wafer with a marshmellow filling. They were super light, and not sickly sweet. We went for one each!

Whilst tickets were about $6 each, the motion of the ocean (Bosphorus, etc) resulted in us both having seated naps! Of course we had no actual idea where we might go! First stop, the map confirmed, was the Asian land mass.

This entry was posted in Travel, Turkey

4 Responses

  • I’m gobsmacked that you did all this! What a huge adventure. Those photographs are just beautiful: such colours and textures and richness.

    It isn’t what I expected to see (not that I really had any expectations or cultural images of Turkey in mind.) It’s very beautiful and I could see how it would be a mesmerising place to visit.

    I love the stories of your hotel issues as well – nice to hear some of the traveller issues. I admire your assertiveness in checking out. Again, no doubt from experience with travel. I think I’d be tempted just to stay put and worried about making waves. Worked out very well though!

    Reply
    • OH yep – it’s super pretty – with the water, the old buildings, the ornate ceiling. Another reason I can see why it’s a travel hub for people, in other political climates particularly.

      Reply
  • Argh! My comment got eaten!

    It is late now and I will have to return again in the morning.

    But in short…I’m just gobsmacked at such an amazing, rich, colourful, textured place. I can’t believe you did SO much in just one trip!

    Reply
    • There’s something wrong with my blog and comments – sorry! No matter where I reply to them, they give me an error, but they still post?!

      Reply


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