|Pierre Loti Café: This tea garden has one of the best views in the city. And is one of the calmest places to hang out. It is at the top of a hill in a cemetary on the south side of the Golden Horn. It's named after a famous French expatriate writer who hung out in Istanbul.
We thought that, in Rome, there would be cafés where we could sit for hours doing nothing. But, it turns out, Rome is a fast-paced city, where people stand up while drinking their morning espresso. In Istanbul, on the other hand, you can sit for hours sipping tea.
Sitting at Pierre Loti, you can hear calls to prayer from mosques all over Istanbul. It starts at one mosque, then another mosque joins in, and soon the call is reverbertating all over the city. It's very beautiful. (By the way, several Americans have asked, "Do you then see everyone hurrying to the mosque to pray." It looked like only a few worshippers were present in the mosques. If people were praying, they were doing it at home or the office.)