Europe, Middle East, Travel

Where East Meets West: Istanbul

In October, 2011 my dad and I went to Turkey with my dad’s high school friends and their families. We stayed in Istanbul for three days then in Antalya for another three days.

istanbul us boatFirst off, Istanbul is an amazing city, filled with historic sites mixed with modernized lifestyle. Even though we spent such a short time in Istanbul, we saw The Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazar, as well as taking a boat ride (pictured) that allowed to see bridges that connect the European and Asian sides, going to the Maiden’s Tower (where there is a small cafe and entertainment venues at night), and so much more. I recommend taking a boat tour, you learn a lot about the history of this city and what daily life is like.

istanbul jewlery

The Grand Bazar has everything, musical instruments, clothes, jewelry, food, shoes, small trinkets, calligraphists, the list can go on and on. We loved it, better than any mall! I love turquoise jewelry and where better than to get it than in Turkey? This jewelry stand was the first of many stops when we entered the bazar and I bought quite a few things as gifts for friends and of course myself. Not everyone speaks English so the cashiers would use calculators to communicate the total which comes in very handy.

When it came to dinner, we would go to what seemed like an alley near our hotel, The Best Western which was a 15 minute walk from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. All these restaurants have their doors opened, patios ready with the waiters and managers standing outside trying to get you to choose their place to eat. It was pretty awkward, us youngsters just let the grown ups decide where to go because we didn’t know how to say no!

istanbul hotel

Afterward, at our hotel, there were quite a few stray cats and I would save leftovers and feed them at night.

Stay tuned for information on Hagia Sophia and Topkapi.

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