There are many benefits of staying in a city more than couple of days. It enables you to go behind the tourist scene to discover the living city, see the inhabitants in their daily routine, and be a temporary local.
With a population over 5 million people, Asian part of the city hardly is “off the beaten path”, but definitely “off the tourist track”. As a traveler with a never ending curiousity, in my travels, I have always wanted to see to where people live, what they eat, learn how they socialize, what meeting in a café means for them, music they listen, food they eat… It a philosophy we professionally embrace as well, we don’t miss a chance to provide it to our travelers.
The Rick Steves Istanbul tour spends a whole week in Istanbul and participants enjoy a side trip to Asian side of the city. Like an Istanbulite, the Rick Steves Istanbul tour members mix the crowd in the produce market, taste goodies, sip coffee, window shop, chat with vendors, and eat in the modest restaurant of an award winning chef well know for serving a great variety of Asia Minor dishes, those including food from south east Turkey which is upper Mesopotamia.
At the end of the day, tour members take public transportation back to their hotel, which is a commuter ferry crossing the Bosphorus strait. As the sun sets behind the famous historic skyline of Istanbul ferry docks in the Old Town.
Lale Surmen Aran
PS: Scroll down for more photos and explanations. If you are patient till the end, you can watch Rick Steves Istanbul tour participants in action, shopping in the produce market.