Istanbul is a great city for walking. Distances exist but clean air helps one to walk without much distress. This makes a walk through Maçka Demokrasi Park, Istanbul even more pleasurable. Maçka Demokrasi Park has mentions in Istanbul’s history from the 19th century. The park is forever buzzing with activity with kids playing, people jogging or just lazing around if not sitting in one of the garden cafes. Maçka Park has two play areas for children & two cafes. In the midst of all that greenery there are artificial islands and an artificial nesting pool too.
We walked through the park on our way through the Beşiktaş district to the Bosphorus sea side. At the exit we came across the under construction Beşiktaş JK stadium (Vodafone Arena) towards our left and then walked past the famous Dolmabahçe Palace. Dolmabahçe Palace served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922. Dolmabahçe is the largest palace in Turkey and is now a museum.
The walk eventually took us through Beşiktaş to the Bosphorus which seemed like the most happening place in Istanbul. The seaside was not very vast and was packed with people. There was a regular ferry traffic to and fro Asian side. Revellers were indulging themselves with street food, game stalls and stalls selling trinkets as well as counterfeit watches. People were seen fishing, drinking beer by the sea and making merry. All the restaurants around the walkway were packed tight with no space to breathe. Beşiktaş was quite happening.
On the way back from Bosphorus, we walked through the local market in Beşiktaş. The market was thronged by people with vegetable and fish stalls located right in the heart. We did a Döner brunch at Define Büfe – A Döner & Hamburger Restaurant. The döner were just about fine and we downed them with Ayran. Ayran is a local cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt just like our namkeen lassi. It is considered to be Turkey’s national drink. I found the meats in Istanbul to be quite dry (they call it well done). It seemed the concept of rare or medium rare was non existent and so was spicy food.