Hello everyone ! I have been a bit out of touch because I was travelling for my job. I had a three day conference in Istanbul.
I had never been, and I got to tag on a little bit of sight seeing on the weekend. I always buy a weekend guide, to ensure I get to see the major highlights.
I LOVED the little I saw and would definitely go back. It lives and breaths history, there is a mix of cultures, the food was fantastic, and I found the people helpful, friendly. Here are some of the highlights.
View from my room : the Bosphorus River. This is the strait that separates Europe and Asia. This picture was taken on the European side, looking over to the Asian side. One evening I took a cruise and it gave another perspective of the city.
Hagia Sophia is an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum, its quite amazing because it has both Christian and Islamic religious symbols under the same roof. source
The Blue Mosque is an historical mosque in Istanbul, known as the Blue Mosque because of blue tiles surrounding the interior walls. source This is one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen.
The Grand Bazaar is one of the largest covered markets in the world with 60 streets and 5,000 shops, and attracts between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors daily. It is well known for its jewellery, hand-painted ceramics, carpets, embroideries, spices and antique shops. We were there when it opened, and were lucky that there were not too many people.
I bought scarves, ceramic bowls and sterling silver jewelry.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get in much exercise, except Sunday when I took full advantage of the gym & weight room. The other days started at 7 a.m. and finished at midnight, and I just felt sleep was a bit more needed than exercise. I also didn’t eat that well. I didn’t know the next time I will make it to Turkey, so I made an effort to try a little bit of everything. Lots of pine nuts, eggplant, grilled lamb, beef, chicken, grilled veggies… and baklava !
I was so involved in the company of my colleagues that I forgot to take pictures most of the time.
I have travelled quite a bit around Europe and it is one of the places that I would definitely return to.
Have you every been to Istanbul ? What did you like about it ? what is your favorite European or Middle Eastern city ?