Not being Turkish, I won’t offer an opinion on what’s happening over there, but I do hope things manage to calm down soon. It’s always a shame to see people and places in turmoil – especially after watching Athens suffer through my time spent in Greece last year.
In light of the current situation in Turkey and my recent holiday there, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to write a post on amazing Istanbul.
So, Istanbul had been on my list of cities to visit for a while, albeit not having a clue what it was like. It was somewhere I was totally intrigued by, because of its location joining East to West. Having grown up in an Arab country as a European, getting the mix of such different cultures, I tried to imagine just what a city with such rich and complex history would be like.
We stayed in area called Sultanahmet, also known as the Old City District where all the ancient monuments lie. Although somewhat touristic, it was amazing. We were surrounded by the most magnificent mosques, buildings old and new, all different shapes and colours, and, of course, were situated next to the breathtaking Mediterranean sea.
What really set the city apart, for me, were the people and the city’s amazing “seven hills”. I have never been to a place where collectively people were helpful and eager to make your time there enjoyable. I felt this unique sense of pride you don’t find often; pride for their history and pride in their beautiful city and country – it was really refreshing! And the geography made the place that much more amazing. Set on seven steep hills, the city had layers and layer of buildings – a total feast for the eyes. There was so much to see, some much texture and character.
My favourite parts?
Food: Yoghurt kebap (photo 9)
Coffee: A place on the back side of Topkapi palace where you have a stunning view of the harbour
Drinks: Libederya terrace, just of Istiklal street – it’s a bar with sensational views of the city and was recommended by a Turkish friend of mine 🙂 See it here (photo 34)
Area: Nişantaşi – the more chic, upper-class area in Istanbul where you can find modern bars and restaurants
Moment not to miss: Watching the sunset from Galata bridge. It is literally a view that stops you and makes you wish you could pause time (photos 27, 28, 31)
Shopping: The spice souk. Grand Bazaar is great too but in the spice souk you can find local delis and fresh ground coffee, which was still hot when we bought it! (photos 7, 8)
Best photo op: Drinking wine at the “Seven Hills” tallest terrace restaurant in Sultanahmet. You have the most perfect, unobstructed view of both Agia Soyfa and the Blue Mosque – a terrace not to miss! (photo 1)
All in all, pleasantly surprised was an understatement – I was in total awe… as was my lens! Hope you like the snaps 🙂
Happy days 🙂