Greg & Maisie’s Great Adventure: Istanbul (3 Cards, 3 Continents)

For the 3 Cards, 3 Continents Challenge, Maisie (the Culinary Concierge) and I traveled around the world in business class.  Our trip themes were luxury travel, great food from around the world, and exploring waterways.  In this series of posts titled "Greg & Maisie's Great Adventure," I detail highlights from our travel, food, and water experiences.  Our route in a nutshell: San Francisco to Tokyo to Vietnam; Vietnam to Doha, Qatar; Doha to Sofia, Bulgaria; Sofia to Istanbul; Istanbul to Stockholm; Stockholm to Bergen; Bergen to Toronto (via Newark); Toronto to Detroit (home!)
What is 3 Cards, 3 Continents? Frequent Miler loves creating fun and competitive team challenges. This year Greg, Nick, and Stephen are competing to book the most amazing 3-continent dream-trip using 3 credit card welcome bonuses.

Turkish Airlines to Istanbul

Following our visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, we kicked our taste buds into overdrive.  Great Turkish food began on the plane.  On the one hour flight to Istanbul, Turkish Airlines offered a dining experience that would have been impressive on a 5 hour flight!  The lambchops and mezze were terrific.  We were very comfortable too.  Unlike most other carriers, Turkish offers an exceptional business class product even on their flights within Europe.

Adahan DeCamondo Pera, Autograph Collection Hotel

In Istanbul, we took a taxi from the airport to the Adahan DeCamondo Pera hotel where we checked in for two nights.  We could have booked an even ritzier hotel (like the Ritz) with the same free night certificates, but this one had better reviews and was in a much better location for exploring Istanbul.  And it turned out to be a great choice.  The staff were incredibly helpful and attentive, the rooms were large and comfortable, the rooftop restaurant was great, and the location was exactly as good as we had hoped.

Enjoying breakfast at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant

Sunset Grill & Bar

On our first evening in Istanbul we dined at the excellent Sunset Grill & Bar.  The food was very good and the views were incredible.  I highly recommend it.

Edible Istanbul Food Tour

Our second day in Istanbul was a combination tour of the city and tour of the city’s food (but with a very heavy emphasis on the latter).  Richard, from Edible Istanbul Food Tours met us at our hotel and we walked from there.  We started on the western side, since that’s where our hotel was, ate our way towards the Bosporus and ferried to the Anatolia (Asian) side. There, we gorged ourselves on endless culinary delights from both street vendors and restaurants.  I’ll let the photos do the talking…

Want to help?  I’m writing this from a flight over the Atlantic ocean and hurrying to finish before we land.  So, I’m not going to post captions to the photos right now.  Do you recognize these things?  If so, please comment to let everyone know what they’re seeing!

Maisie about to enjoy her simit

Rowing the Golden Horn

On our final day in Istanbul we got up early to go rowing on the Golden Horn during sunrise!  It was awesome.

This was a fantastic way to cap our stay in Istanbul!  Next we were off to Stockholm where caviar bumps were waiting…


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Masie has a simit, next looks like borek, the minced meat with tomatoes looks like sac tava (bit hard to tell), then likely adana kebab. When rolled up in Flatbread in the next pic, it is called Durum. Finally soup looks like mercimek corbasi (lentil soup)


I’ve been following along with all updates from you three. This is so much fun!!
Suggestion, can you all do this event twice a year? Or dive deep into certain regions/countries?
When is the poll open for the vote?


Help with the picture captions for the restaurant:
1. A Turkish family eyes the people who stole their table.
2. The chef turns inwardly and resists cracking under pressure as he cooks in front of a culinary world traveler.
3. Maisie eyes the bread that tried to roll away, then breaks out into a smile when Greg shouts, “The five second rule works in Turkey, too!”
4. Another picture is photo-bombed by that darned gnome, er, 3 Cards/3 Continents water bottle.
5. A tea and a pastry walk into a cafe — stop me if you’ve heard this one…
6. A close up to identify all of the ingredients, especially the eye of newt.
7. …yeah, anything I put here will get the post removed.
8. Disappointment overcomes our heroic travelers as they incredulously ask, “Did we really come all this way for a burrito?”
9. Greg, enjoying the best soup he’s ever had. wonders if Maisie is going to finish hers.
10. Greg an Maisie take time out from their busy travel pace to play house with tiny coffee cups.

I hope that helped…


I’m in Istanbul right now. I recognize the Galatea restaurant. I’m staying in that neighborhood. Maisie’s holding a simit. Bread dough concoction which is crusty and twisted and covered in sesame seeds. You can buy them everywhere from street vendors for less than $1. They are really good if you are hungry.


Updates like this may help Greg catch up with Nick 😉


Nice going. Like to see what the rest of your trip is like. So far so good – all of 3 contestants did a great job of using miles/points to their advantage and not skipping on activities in between flights. Stretching to the max!