I don’t know why my sister and me have never travelled together before. Just the two of us. We’ve been raised to travel and visit foreign countries the same way. Not only have we learned to appreciate the same things but we also have the same idea of how to experience a city for the first time. (Which is most definitely by foot. Not a single penny was spent on a taxi…)
This summer, we got plane tickets to a place both of us have been wanting to go for quite some time – Istanbul! We booked a pretty little airbnb apartment in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood and off we went.
My sister and me can be intense when it comes to sightseeing. Don’t get me wrong, we also love a good book by the beach. But if we happen to be in a new place we want to see it all. You could classify us as hardcore tourists, i.e. we have a list of what we want to see and we’ll make sure that the sights are ticked off before our departure. With five full days in Istanbul there was plenty of time to visit all of the palaces, mosques and bazaars to eat my weight in Turkish Delight (my sister doesn’t eat sweets, I don’t get it…) .
We arrived at our airbnb, no time to kick back and relax, we wanted to get going. We changed into something more suitable for the extreme July heat which was still appropriate to visit the Blue Mosque with about a million other people. The carpet of the mosque was sticky and wet, soaking up sweat and humidity like a sponge. Nonetheless, V. and me were both mesmerised by the beauty and intricate details of this building. I loved the atmosphere; the fact that there’s life in this sacred place where kids are allowed to run around and friends come together.
I apologize for the many mosque pictures in this post as well as all the coming ones – I just couldn’t choose.
My first impression of Istanbul was that it’s a city with lots of stunning major tourist attractions but lots of trash in-between, unfortunately. I was expecting a more traditional, oriental (magical?) vibe with cobblestoned alleyways that smell of caramelised almonds, glow in rainbow coloured lights and are full of old people whose faces tell you their whole story. Granted, my view was too romantic but I didn’t expect the flashing neon signs and loud bad music barking at you from all sides. I was disappointed.
Nonetheless, there were many beautiful corners to be found in the streets of Istanbul. Like this random graveyard that we stumbled across while searching for the perfect spot to have a cappuccino. The afternoon light, slowly settling into golden hour, was simply stunning. Pretty good start to our city trip to Turkey!