I needed a rainy day. Finally. A day to rest and re-group. And blog. I did nothing except that and it was perfect.

In the evening I went for an authentic Ottoman dinner at a place called Topaz. It was very good and very romantic. The view overlooking the Bosporus was amazing and it was great to watch the sky darken and the lights of the Asian side of Istanbul light up. And the suspension bridge between Asia and Europe (built-in 1973, I later learned) lights up in a variety of colors that change every few minutes. I really enjoyed it. The food included the following courses: Turkish yogurt soup w chick peas and meat ball, Fresh vegetables in olive oil, traditional film pastry w Turkish cheese “Ezine”, stuffed Swiss chard w minced meat and cracked wheat, sorbet to cleanse the pallet, baked lamb mastic flavored chargrilled eggplant w wild mushroom lamb gravy, finished with sour cherry compote! That’s what, 7 courses!? By the end I could hardly finish but am proud to say I finished it all except the dessert, which I’m never a fan of anyway. After finishing with mint tea to remind me of Morocco, I headed back to the hotel.

Stepping in to the taxi I fully intended to have the maitre de tell the driver the name of my hotel in Turkish but forgot. Consequently my 2 minute taxi ride turned in to a 20 minute one around and around with me getting frustrated at my lack of foresight to get the address in Turkish. That was the first of many frustrating taxi rides and I now know that I was powerless to make the situation better under any circumstances, Turkish or no Turkish. My hunch is those drivers are out to get me no matter what.