Istanbul. Completely different to the other Turkish beach destinations that I've been to.
There's so much to say about the European/Asian city.
These pictures below capture every element of the city that I'd like to share.
What I find frustrating about some travel blogs is that it could be so difficult to find cons or negative opinions about the places they have visited. Obviously I have not been sponsored to talk about this city, therefore why should I leave out the bad parts? So beware of the truth.
These photos (hopefully) display how beautiful the Istanbul skyline is. The home to over 3,000 mosques, these sacred places of worship sublimely illuminate the city. No matter where your hotel/hostel is located in the city, you will be woken up by the call to prayer - guaranteed. Some would say its a disturbance, but I found it relaxing. I can't describe why I liked to be woken up by it, but it was a really soothing sound (and also reminded me that I needed to wake up soon).
I was warned that they would be terrible traffic - but it doesn't bet central London.
At least in London cars will allow you to go past or won't speed up to scare you.
There were countless times we all had to hold hands to cross like toddlers on a field trip.
ATTENTION: Zebra crossings aren't the same thing as in the UK. To Istanbul drivers, it's just marks on the road.
The nightlife was brill. At 1am you could still get an ice cream and haggle silver rings by Taksim Square. There is no such thing as eating dinner late or spending too long shopping.
For the drinkers, when you order a spirit and mixer, you will get a drink that is 70% spirit and 30% mixer. If you're a one-drink-drunk, it'll be a cheap night out.
These were the views outside my hotel room. It may be an eye sore to wake up looking at, (especially when my friends got the riverside view - yes I'm still jealous) I believe these buildings carry so much character.
I wonder when they were built? Who lives there? How do they feel living opposite to tourists spying into their homes constantly?
This was taken at Bogazici University. The Turkish equivalent to our Oxford/Cambridge. The campus was wonderful. The university was inspired (and funded) by American colleges. It is located by a breathtaking view of the river. For the architecture alone, that would motivate me attend lectures more.
I would say be careful with experimenting with street food in foreign countries. But this bready snack and nutella inside it (forgot what it's called)... is a must try!
These are pictures taken from Aya Sofia, Topkapi Palace and The Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque).
Every ceiling was exquisitely painted with fascinating colours and patterns. You will walk through every room with your head raised.
I was terribly inspired by all the designs. I could walk around taking thousands pictures.
I feel in love with the bag with hexagon patterns. I feel in love with it more when the shop owner said it was handmade. I feel a bit out of love when he told me it was 400Liras (about £100/$150). I still ponder about this beauty.
I have decided that when I'm older and want to decorate my new house. I'm going to Istanbul again to buy rugs, lamps, lanterns and perhaps jewellery, handbags, shoes. These items would cost A L O T if I brought these in a Western store.
Everything is really cheap in the market, especially when you shamelessly haggle.
The real struggle would be getting it in a suitcase. But I'll sort that all out before I return to the market - don't you worry.
Overall, I had a really great trip.
Although I would only go to Istanbul again just for the market.
I visited most of hotspots and I don't think I need to go again. I'm not the kind of 'been-there-done-that' and never go back gal. It's the fact that I soaked it all in, so a return isn't essential.
But what made it such a fun trip was the people I met.
As it was a university trip, and I made friends (mainly international students) that were from so many different backgrounds and cultures.
I found it funny that no matter what country we were from, we all shared the same opinion and outlook on how we felt about Istanbul.
|After a few heavy spirit and mixers!|