I've just returned from 5 nights in Istanbul! I have been wanting to go for many years now since the culture is so different and the history is amazing - and when my Storyboard Course in London was cancelled my dad offered to take me to Istanbul instead!
I'm very used to being SUPER prepared for any trip I take and it was kind of weird going to a city I knew next to nothing contemporary of. I didn't even know the city was full of steep hills!
I was so happy when I saw they had flight entertainment haha - movies make my world go round.
We landed in the late afternoon just in time to hear the calling of the afternoon prayer. When we got to the city we walked to the harbour and found a restaurant with a view of the mosques and the sunset. It was a brilliant intro to the trip.
And I tasted baklava for the first time! It's yummyyyyy
We didn't walk back until it was completely dark. The mosques looked so pretty.
Tuesday I wanted to see the mosques. We saw Aya Sofya first and was surprised to find that it had been turned into a museum since my dad had been to Istanbul last.
You could clearly tell it was old and that it is a hard battle trying to keep the building from molding etc. - renovations seem to be never-ending. There is a charm to decay though since the age becomes tangible!
It was super gorgeous ! The light was used well.
We found this amazing street art!And walked over to the "blue mosque".
We found a spot between Sultanahmet Camii and Aya Sofya and sat down to listen to the prayer calling. The alternate calls are mesmerizing !
When prayer time had concluded we went into the mosque. The tiles were unbelievable ! But I must admit that the details were so tiny and plentiful that it lost some of it's beauty.
I covered up for the occasion ! This vacation gave me such a good excuse to wear my longer dresses - in Istanbul they didn't feel overly dressy at all!
We ate Turkish pizza at a very local and non-tourist-y cafeteria and saw the sun set from the hotel's rooftop terrace.
And we woke up to darlin Kitty Mum and her three kittens. They were constantly playing outside our window and brought so many smiles to our faces during our stay when we needed it. Christ, they're cute.
Then we went to the incredible underground cisterns. It was so surreal because the pillars and "roof" made it feel like a legit palace - not a reservoir. I loved that there are some details that remain unknown - like why the tear drops were carved or why Greek Medusa was used as the bottom pieces of two pillars.
The lighting made it all the more beautiful down there - the shifting colours made it more interesting to walk around.
We then ate something and saw a bride getting a photo shoot in the middle of the road.
And we played cards. Like a lot.
Then we went to Topkapi Palace.
The palace was made up of so many different buildings and it made for a confusing and slightly annoying experience, since you had to queue up for absolutely everything. The view was the best though!
As was the wind. And the buildings were so impressive.
The next day we went to Dolmabache Palace since they had a student discount. But it was closed ?? We were not the only one who hadn't read that anywhere because others were there and when we left we saw a bunch of tourists headed there.
It was a shame because it's a stellar baroque palace similar in lavishness to the palaces I saw in Russia.
I'm happy I got to see the impressive gate though!
From there we went to Taksim and walked down the high street, shopping and making pit-stops along the way + we saw this cutie kitten and her momma.
We saw some insanely cool graffiti and Galata Tower - which looks like something straight out of a Grimm fairy tale!
In the evening I went to a Turkish Hamam - Cemberlitas Hamami, opened in 1584. I had a very nice lady calling my "little baby" scrub my body while singing quietly and then I just enjoyed the warmth. I was surprised that the temperature was not that high - I had expected sauna-like conditions.
I ended up staying there for such a long time that I got lucky and had the entire room completely to myself for half an hour. I spent my solitary moments listening to my voice echo back to me. It was magical.
Times passes quickly and I ended up staying for 3 hours!
Friday was our last full day. We walked downtown to the Spice Bazaar, taking the smaller streets not visited by tourists.
We went through the fabric district which had so many sparkly fabrics that I thought I was going to die from excitement. I almost bought some but the seller thought he could get away with doubling the price since I was a tourist and I walked away. The fabrics were so beautiful though :( and they sold so many different fake flowers too!
Then we got to the Spice Bazaar which did not excite me at all. The sellers were yelling after you and it felt super tourist-y.
We decided to take it easy and go dip our bodies in a nearby hotel's pool.
I dove into nostalgia reading an old R. L. Stine book haha!
My dad was beaming during our last meal because he finally LOVED the food he was eating. He travels for the food mainly haha - I travel for culture, I think?
Yummy kebab and chocolate baklava.
We ended the night with a hookah and more card games.
And then it was time to return to Denmark bearing a few fashion items, Turkish delight and 6 different tea cups + a tray from the Grand Bazaar!