Today we were late to wake up, and slow to get going. Crystal had called this the night before, and Justin was incredulous, only to be proven wrong this morning. We did a little packing, and a little reading, and finally headed out around 9:30. The weather was more of the same, somewhere between mist and rain. The rough plan for today was to stay in "new" Europe, north of the Golden Horn. The first stop was brunch with a view. We started by walking northeast, into Besiktas. It was a nice walk, except for the rain. We were roughly parallel with the Bosphorus for awhile, then after about halfway to brunch, headed up a fairly steep hill. We finally started to see some people, and came upon the "hip" part of the neighborhood closer to Taksim Square.

One of the places we'd read about prior to the trip was 5.Kat, which supposedly had a stellar Bosphorus view that was perfect for Sunday Brunch. We figured we'd try it out. We almost missed it, as there was no clear signage inside the building. But since we knew it was on the roof, we took the elevator to the top floor. When we got out, however, no one was there. Two people, from the look of their outfits from the kitchen, walked down, and walked right past us. They didn't say hello, ask if we needed something, or give any response at all, so we were miffed. We proceeded to walk up a flight of stairs, where we saw some more people. There was both an outoor area and inside, and as it was completely empty, we took the corner table inside.

From the corner we had a great view of the Bosphorus and the Asian side of the city. We could also see Topkapi and Hagia Sophia. This was our reward for heading over early (bypassing Galata Tower) to ensure a great seat. We didn't envision we'd be the only patrons, however. For food, Crystal got Menemen, and Justin got pastrami and eggs. We also got some pastries that we shared. We put some of the menemen on top of the spinach pastry, making it better. We also got a couple rounds of mimosas. At one point, Justin walked up one final flight of stairs, where the view was 360 degrees, although the view to the north was not nearly as good.

Brunch was leisurely and we took our time, as all we had on list for today was 4 things - brunch, Durumzade (lunch/snack), 360 (drinks), and Galata Tower (view). 360 didn't open until 2pm, and Galata Tower was right by the hotel, so we decided to meander over to Durumzade, then hit up 360 and Galata Tower, making sure we were back by about 4:30pm for our 5pm departure for the airport. When we felt we'd had enough mimosas, we wandered over towards Istiklal Street and Durumzade. We got a little lost, but not too bad, and we frankly needed the exercise. We crossed Istiklal (the main drag), then headed to Durumzade. There were bars everywhere, and it looked like it would be cool at night, particularly for 20-somethings. As it was, they were all empty right now.

We finally came back, like McArthur, to Durumzade - about 3.5 years later than planned. In 2014 we'd stopped in for a minute, shortly after lunch elsewhere. We told them we'd be back, intending to come back that night. That was April of 2014. Better late than never. Crystal got a wrap, Justin got the "deconstructed" wrap (all the constituent ingredients separate), which he then put onto bread - he probably should have just gotten the wrap too, since what he put together basically looked like what Crystal already had. It was really good, although not as good as lunch the day before - that could've been because we'd just come from brunch, and weren't fully (or at all) hungry.

Istiklal street was full of people, out for a Sunday stroll. We went into Starbucks for Crystal to get an espresso mug (she already has a coffee mug). We got to 360 right at 2, along with another couple. It had a nice view, but the guy in there said they didn't open until 4. This was odd because besides the internet, the elevator itself said 12 for one area, 2 for another. The other couple was also surprised. Well, we have that and the Chora Church on the list for next time. So instead we walked down Istiklal to Galata Tower. We grabbed some money, since we needed cash for the entry ticket. There was a long line, so maybe it was good that 360 was closed. The weather was tiny mist (not too bad), but windy and cool.

It took about 30 minutes of waiting to get inside the tower. Inside, there was an elevator to near the top, where the restaurant is. To go up from there, we had to walk up some stairs. At the top of those, there was an exit to outside. The outer balcony was one way traffic (supposedly) to walk around the outside of the tower. People kept going other way, however, and it was extremely tight quarters. There were unparalleled views, but the mist and rain were not helping matters. We went all the way around, then headed down.

It was a very steep walkway back to hotel - thankfully we didn't slip on any slick pavement - but the walk was probably only 3 minutes or so. We finished packing for Turkmenistan, then went up to the bar. It was raining pretty good now, so we stayed inside rather than go on the outside balcony. There was one other couple in the bar, plus us. The bartender remembered us and our drinks from the night before. The table had some giant olives - they tasted good, but they didn't go well with red wine or rum. We got a second round, took some final views in, then headed back down to room, then to the lobby. We got picked up, and the driver took us across Galata bridge, then looped around Sultanahmet. We actually drove right past Little Hagia Sophia on the south part of the neighborhood. We got to the airport around 5:45.

For whatever reason, our flight had its own line, and we avoided the long line for Turkish airlines generally. They asked to see our visas, just to make sure they were there before we got checked in. After clearing security, the Turkish Airlines lounge was just to the left - much quicker this time. It was also busier as well. We got some pide (which we now knew was pide and not lamachun), plus some Indian food. "Indian food at the airport before a flight to Turkmenistan - what's the worst that could happen?" We took advantage of the open bar before heading down to the gate. There was a slight delay going to Ashgabat, but nothing too bad. We fell asleep fairly early on the plane flight, and no one was between us this time so we had more leg room to stay comfy. Until next time, Istanbul!

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