Istanbul

IMG_1024With city limits that span across two continents, and a varied history of nearly 1700 years, Istanbul is as complex as she is beautiful.

So… Where do we start? How do we explain it? The easiest way is a blow-by-blow of our trip. It’s mostly pics, so if you’re a “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus” type of reader, then you’re in luck.

Enjoy!

Day 1.

We arrived at midnight in our AirBnb. When we woke up, this was our view.
We arrived at midnight in our AirBnb. When we woke up, this was our view. I’m in two minds about using AirBnb in Istanbul. Yes, you get more space for your money, but it just doesn’t feel as safe. Also, there were some communication issues getting in touch when we didn’t have wifi, so had to wait around and then use a stranger’s phone. Not terrible, just something to be aware of.
Coffee! We're finding out that most cities in the world have some small, independent cafes around. Kronotrop is one of them. Great coffee, friendly staff. Went back again.
Coffee! We’re finding out that most cities in the world have some small, independent cafes around. Kronotrop is one of them. Great coffee, friendly staff. Went back again.
First stop, Blue Mosque. Completed in 1616, it's intriguing, ornate and it's ever so detailed.
First stop, Blue Mosque. Completed in 1616, it’s intriguing, ornate and it’s ever so detailed.

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Next up, Hagia Sofia.

Hagia Sophia - Built as a church in 537 A.D., it was converted into a mosque in 1453. Since 1931, it's been a museum, and elements of both Christianity and Islam can be seen here.
Hagia Sophia – Built as a church in 537 A.D., it was converted into a mosque in 1453. Since 1931, it’s been a museum, and elements of both Christianity and Islam can be seen here.

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Then, lunch.

Turkey's not really known for it's vegetarian cuisine... It's all about the Kebabs! They're cheap, tasty and it's pretty hard to find a terrible one, (but not impossible).
Turkey’s not really known for it’s vegetarian cuisine… It’s all about the Kebabs! They’re cheap, tasty and it’s pretty hard to find a terrible one, (but not impossible).

Then, we went to some proper Turkish Baths, (Cemberlitas Hammami was the name of the place we went to). They’ve been doing their thing since 1584!

No photos were taken here, and for good reason.

Males and females bathe separately. I can’t talk for Phoebe, but here’s my experience. After stripping down and wearing the tea-towel provided to me, I was completely scrubbed down by a grumpy, scrawny 50-year-old Turkish man. He might’ve been skinny, but he was rough!

It’s definitely something that’s outside my comfort zone, but it’s bizarrely relaxing. You can sit there in the sauna for a while and just soak up the atmosphere too.

Then, dinner with a view.

This was the view from our rooftop terrace restaurant, Cat 5. Honestly the food wasn't amazing, but the view over the Bosphorous was a cool way to finish our first full day in Istanbul.
This was the view from our rooftop terrace restaurant, Cat 5. Honestly the food wasn’t amazing, but the view over the Bosphorous was a cool way to finish our first full day in Istanbul.

Day 2

After grabbing another coffee, it was time for the Grand Bazaar. To be honest, it was way calmer than expected. Not a whole lot of hustle and bustle, and market owners seemed more interested in checking Facebook on their phones than getting the attention of customers. Definitely worth a visit though, with so many colours, sights and sounds to take in!
After grabbing another coffee, it was time for the Grand Bazaar. To be honest, it was way calmer than expected. Not a whole lot of hustle and bustle, and market owners seemed more interested in checking Facebook on their phones than getting the attention of customers. Definitely worth a visit though, with so many colours, sights and sounds to take in!

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Processed with VSCOcam with s2 presetThen, this guy was washing his dog in the street, and I took a photo.
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Then, the Egyptian Spice Market.

Of the two markets, we preferred the Egyptian Spice Market! Both of us could accurately be described as foodies, so this place was incredible! All the spices, Baklava and Turkish Delight... It was immense and intense and all things wonderful.
Of the two markets, we preferred the Egyptian Spice Market! Both of us could accurately be described as foodies, so this place was incredible! All the spices, sweets, baklava and Turkish delight… It was immense and intense and all things wonderful.
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Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetThen, we caught a ferry down the Bosphorous. Istanbul spans cross Europe and Asia, so we went to Asia, because why not?

Sea breeze and turquoise water.
Sea breeze and turquoise water.
Wandered around Asia for about an hour. Grabbed a beer, went back to Europe.
Wandered around Asia for about an hour. Grabbed a beer, went back to Europe.

Then, Karakoy.

Karakoy is the up-and-coming hipster suburb of Istanbul. Cool cafes, cool bars. Pricier than most other parts in the city.

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From here, we headed to Istikal Street for dinner. There also happened to be a protest happening. Not sure what about, but I managed to get this cheeky shot of the police.

Processed with VSCOcam with 4 presetAfter this, it was time to head back to the apartment. Pack up, get some sleep and get ready to wake up super early to catch a plane to Cappadocia.

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed the pics from Istanbul.


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