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In Europe I always felt like I had trouble finding a place a to eat, that no one took a single diner seriously. In Turkey, I had the opposite problem. I couldn't walk by a restaurant without someone handing me a menu and trying to get me to come inside. While I had some amazing dinners and amazing lunches in Istanbul, sometimes it's all about quick and cheap. So, of course, the easiest thing to eat was the doner kebab (just be sure not to eat your doner on a park bench)…   Some of the easiest places to eat in Istanbul were...

I had plans to meet up again with Gulender and Murat, who I met a few weeks ago, the last time I was staying in Istanbul. I had no idea what they had in store for me for the day. We started with breakfast at a place along the Bosphorus. We had tomatoes and cucumbers, honey and cream, olives and cheese, bread and cherry jam, and eggs with peppers and tomatoes. And, of course, a little Turkish coffee....

I ended up back in Istanbul a little earlier than planned. And a little earlier in the day than I ever really should get anywhere. My bus pulled up to the station around 6am and I was immediately bombarded by a guy asking me where I was going. I said "Taksim" but I'm pretty sure he thought I said "taxi." In any case, I didn't want to follow him and really just needed a bathroom....

On my second full day in Istanbul I spent the morning wandering the Grand Bazaar, where I dodged carpet sellers and lamp sellers and scarf sellers and trinket sellers all spouting out "Where you from?" "You speak English?" "You want to be my friend?" and some other favorites like "good morning…(after I ignored them)…bad morning" and "you German?" and "hola" and "bonjour" and "want to see my carpets?" which just sounds like a dirty pick up line. And then there was the person who tried to convince me he was trustworthy by showing me text messages from Brits and Americans...