Istanbul: Day 4

Basilica Cistern (10 TL)
Dolmabahçe Palace (40 TL for both Harem & Selamlik)
Park Fora Restaurant

The Basilica Cistern is hauntingly beautiful. If you don't know, a cistern is basically a huge holding tank for liquids - usually water - and this one is really famous. It was even used in one of the Bond films. The lighting makes it kind of a difficult place to photograph but it's v. beautiful and gives it an eerie, kind of magical ambiance. It takes about 30 minutes to explore the whole place and the highlight is probably the Medusa head columns.
Basilica Cistern

Dolmabahçe Palace is gorgeous and it made me feel like I was in France because of the French-style furniture and gold leaf and grandeur. There are two options for tickets: you can pay 20 TL to see just the Harem (the living quarters) or 40 TL to see both the Harem and Selamlik (men's quarters). We opted for the full package and saw both places but since photography is prohibited inside, I have no photographic evidence. But I have plenty of photos of us outdoors and it was a gorgeous day so everything looked so beautiful, including the lovely Bosphorus.

And then for a late lunch/early dinner we went to Park Fora which was a v. pricey but v. fresh seafood restaurant. The grilled squid was incredible; probably the best squid I've ever had. And though prices were steep, the food was so fresh that it was well worth it.
Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to get an early night's rest since we were headed to Cappadocia in the morning.