Monday, June 24
Tonight was our final evening in Istanbul; we had nearly come to the end of our Turkish adventure. We decided to go out for a final bit of souvenir shopping, followed by a final dinner out.
For our final dinner plans, we chose a restaurant (also on our hotel concierge's recommended list) quite close to the hotel. The restaurant - called the Tamara - looked like an average sort of building on an average sort of street. Inside, though, it was huge: three floors of extensive seating plus a rooftop terrace. The place was nearly deserted when we arrived, and we quickly asked for a spot on the terrace. Based on the position of the restaurant at the top of a hill, it looked like the terrace might offer some nice views.
We were not at all disappointed. The rooftop terrace had nearly unobstructed views down over the Sea of Marmara and up to the Blue Mosque, which loomed high above just a few hundred metres away. Spectacular spot.
The reasonably-priced meals turned out to be excellent as well, coming in a close second to our favorite restaurant so far.
The sun set as we had our dinner, and soon the speakers on the Blue Mosque's minarets began broadcasting the call to the Maghrib prayers. At these close quarters, the sound was harsh and blaring - but still very culturally evocative. The male singer's voice intermittently paused for a few seconds, and in those pauses, a snippet of singing would start up from the minaret of some distant mosque, off somewhere in the twilit evening.
With the completion of our dinner, our trip to Turkey essentially came to a close. It had been a thickly-packed visit, but one which had also felt comfortably self-directed and paced. Istanbul is definitely an attraction-pacted, culturally-rich place to visit, and I hope to return again someday.
We headed back to the hotel for a final sleep. In the morning we would be off early to the airport.