Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Love at first sight ..... Istanbul

After 12 days in the kinda grey desert country of Jordan I was so excited to land in Istanbul. I'd read bits and pieces about but no book can prepare you for the vibrant city that I instantly fell in love with.

This east meets west city is a bubbling hub of colour, happy, laughing people and incredible history. The Romans (of course, I've told you before how they got around), Byzantines and Ottomans have all left their stamp.

I based myself in Sultanahment, the old part of the city. While the area is filled with everyone from not so clean backpackers to high heeled euro holdiay makers, this area is the perfect base for my Istanbul adventures.

I wandered up to Sultanahmet Park, a bustling area between the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia. I started to understand why the Turks believe they live in the greatest city in the world - I didn't know which way to look first.

I grabbed a fabulous fresh orange juice from the happiest man on the planet, sat back and watched the world go by.

After chatting to orange juice dude for a bit I headed in to Aya Sophia. I cruised on in then came to an abrupt halt ... this place took my breath away. The Romans built this place to restore the greatness of their empire, and man did they get it right.

The size of this place combined with intricate details everywhere I looked had me amazed.

Its not often that i am left speechless, as many of you would know, but this place did just that!

I visited the tombs around to the side of Aya Sophia. It's free to get in and there was no one there. Unbelievable.

A walk through the square took me to the Blue Mosque. Call to prayer had just finished so it was a busy time.

The mosque is beautiful, particularly the ceiling which is a series of domes covered in blue mosaics of different designs.

I could have stayed for hours, but the smell of foot odor had me scurrying out quite quickly. The locals were not the culprits, the wash before call to prayer, it was the tourist who took off their shoes .... that's why everyone should travel in flip flops!

All of this and I was still only 5 mins from my guest house, best head a bit further afield and see what else I can discover.

BTW, sorry the pics are so small but my system keeps bloody crashing when I try to upload this post!

Posted from somewhere round the world...


  1. It's east meets west LITERALLY - on account of it's on two continents!!!

    Nice incorporation of facts into your blog post. Two thumbs up.

    Is it true that you can buy pet monkeys from the markets there?

    1. Thought it was about time I incorporated some facts rather than just my ramblings.

      I've been to the grand bazaar and the spice market and there wasn't a monkey in sight. I'll keep an eye out and let you know if I come across any.

  2. Did you rock the Casbah?