So my friend Erna and I had a few days off together and decided to take our first trip – Istanbul!!!
We researched online for all the ‘things to do’ and found a decent looking hostel we made our booking right there and then!
We left in the morning straight after I came back from Frankfurt (yes no sleep for me) and were in Istanbul by mid day. There was a bit of confusion at the airport as we didnt know if we were suppose to get a visa or not. Eventually after standing in 3 queues we were on our way with just a stamp at passport control – so next time we’ll know not to spend so much time on that, hehe.
We followed the directions to the metro line and with a helpful security guard we took a shorter route on the train than what the hostel said to take. We got off close to the blue mosque and it was definitely a touristy area. We were surrounded by people and off course charming Turkish men that made us feel like the prettiest woman alive! (and I thought the Lebanese took the award for that, haha, I guess not!)
After asking for directions we got to our hostel, with the hottest welcoming committee I have ever seen, Erna and I couldn’t help but to giggle on our approach They welcomed us in, charming as ever, wanting to carry our bags but Erna just kept saying no, haha, come to think of it we should’ve made use of the opportunity as sadly, we never saw them again during our stay… too bad
We dropped everything in our room and immediately went out. We walked around a bit and was fascinated with all the turkish delicacies!! Turkish delight in every flavour you can imagine and everyone just wants you to come into their shops to taste! After a few tastings (hehe) we decided to go for dinner at Mozaic (which took us a while to decide on as there are so many places!). There were off course too many good things to choose from so we decided on having a starter, main and desert! Erna had soup, I had turkish pastries filled with different things, then we both had the mixed grill, which was amazing!!! For desert, we had the famous baklava, which is definitely one of my favourite deserts!!
It started to drizzle a bit outside, but we decided that a little bit of rain will not scare us off that easily and we headed into town with the tram. Istiklal is a popular street for restaurants and bars and we had a walk around there. It was super crowded as it was a weekend, we were making our way through the crowds when we saw a tram (train) driving around the area with a live band on it, so cool! We decided to look for a place with live music and ended up in this little place with a one man band. He was singing turkish music and everyone was singing along, except for us, as we were the only two foreigners, but we loved it!!
The next morning we got up early and took the bosphorous boat trip where you can see the european and asian side of Istanbul. it was beautiful to see and I would love to go and explore those places some other time…when I have more time to travel and not just a couple of days.
On our way back we accidentaly came across the spice bazaar filled with stalls full of turkish delights, baklava, fresh products, cheeses, fish, and spices. We had a few more tastings, off course, and then left for lunch. We ended up at this little restaurant ‘loco turc’ thats run by an old man and his son. I had turkish raviolli and erna another mixed grill, haha. Afterwards the man gave us some complimentary apple tea, which were delicious! and he thanked us so nicely for having lunch there.
Topkapi palace was just around the corner and we made a quick trip through all the beautiful buildings and monuments, as the lack of sleep were catching up on us. We walked around a bit more in the streets close to our hostel and then got ready for another night out on town.
That night we ended up having some MORE mixed grills at a cosy restaurant on the street where they bring you this balloon bread as big as a basketball, the inside being empty, filled with air. While I was making a funny pose with this odd looking bread the guy seated at a table next to us asked if we wanted a photo together (me and Erna) with the bread. We laughed and said why not And that’s how we met Tim from the UK. We got chatting and we probably spent 3 hours at the restaurant eating and laughing and telling stories about our jobs, hometowns and traveling. We had such a good time and ended it all with some baklava, haha. We finally said that we were gonna do a bit more shopping and he decided to join us. Later we bought some more turkish delicacies which if you buy them, you simply just have to eat them immediately
As we came closer to our hostel we saw a restaurant with live music and we decided to go there. It was your typical arabic joint with some arabic music, hubbly (sisha) and a traditional male dancer, who keeps spinning around for ages without falling over (I just dont know how they do that?) we had some drinks and then called it a night.
On our last morning in Istanbul we went inside the blue mosque, where we had to take off our shoes and the whole stinky feet smell was a bit too much to handle so we didn’t last long in there, but it was incredibly beautiful none the less. We headed for the grand bazaar and had our final shopping spree, buying some items true to turkey (turkish coffee for dad, apple tea for mom, turkish delight for me! and turkish bath towels for my home). After shopping we went for our last breakfast which included mixed grills off course
Sadly that was the end of our trip and we headed back to the airport. Turkey will definitely see more of us, as there is so many beautiful places to explore! Now to start our Diets!!