ahirkapi balikcisi · Asia · blogger · Europe · girl traveler · holidays · Istanbul · Malta · memories · photos · travel · Travel bound · turkey · what to do

Memories from Istanbul

When going to Istanbul, leave all the predjudices behind. The city will turn out to be anything but what you imagined. Busy, green, crowded, beautiful and everything else one would want from a city.
I personally, fell in love with the city all the way from the Mediterranean side of Bosphorous to the Black Sea side, from European to Asian side. I am sure I will gladly come back to Istanbul to explore it even more…
 
Somehow I find it quite hard to describe my trip there well in words, it seems they don’t do justice enough, but I’ll try my best:)  Come along now, here are some things you should definately do whilst in Istanbul:


Muezzins. One of the most magical and beautiful call of prayers I’ve ever heard took place between the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia (which, although no longer a mosque, still keeps a prayer room) where one muezzin would sing out a part of a prayer and the other muezzin would respond from the other minaret. If you are anywhere in the sqaure around prayer time, you’ll notice how people just sit around on the benches listening to this magical performance of the two muezzins.


Shopping. Istanbul is a heaven for shopping. From clothes to home decor, from food to spices and everything in between. It is also a heaven if you want to shop for authentic pieces as well as all-kinds-of-fakes. One thing for sure- do you research where to find authentic pieces and be careful when suggested to invest into an “original” Coco Chanel…:) Arasta Bazaar, The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar are probably the three main places you’ll visit when searching for souvenirs and whatnot, but don’t forget that a more authentic shopping eperience you are much more likely to have at the markets on the Asian side of the city- especially go to Kadikoy and Üsküdar districts.

 

Food. I love places with great food. Istanbul is definitely one of them. From kebabs to kumpir, to börek, to street food.. It is really a heaven! But again, like with everything in Istanbul- do your research where to eat and find good food. Stay away from the nice-looking restaurants near Hagia Sophia, they all suggest very mediocre food for very touristic prices. Instead, search for places like Ahrikapi Balikcisi, which will serve most probably the best fresh fish while in Istanbul. Also, try street food, the sesame covered pretzels, fresh corns, fish sandwiches, all kinds of turkish sweets and of course get yourself a glass (or two) of freshly squeezed orange-pomegrande juice. Yumm!

 


Mosques. Go and see mosques. It is an absolute must. They are not only houses of prayers (which any civilized person should respect) but also a true masterpiece of great Ottoman architecture. Go inside, sit down and marvel at them (insider tip- most of the mosques have people, sort of guides, inside that can answer all your questions about the mosque or about islam. Don’t be ignorant and ask them to explain things, you would be surprised how many false truths you knew). Go and see Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque, the Little Aya Sofya, Suleymaniye Mosque and Ortaköy Mosque.


The Galata bridge and Galata district. Istanbul is not just about historical monuments and stunning mosques. Once you leave Sultanahmet district and walk on the Galata bridge to head to the northern part of the city centre, you will be overwhelmed by the skyline in front of your eyes in any direction you turn. What makes this bridge very characteristic though, is the line of fish restaurants spreaded along its entirety.


Once in the Galata district, it feels like being in a town inside the town. Steep paved streets (bring comfortable shoes!), live music, the exclusive Galatasaray University and Istiklal Caddesi, home to a massive number of fashion shops. Feeling nostalgic? An old fashioned tram will bring you straight to Taksim square, the capital of Istanbul’s nightlife.


Ferries. Istanbul’s ferries are charming. They can take you anywhere across Bosphorous in no time and you’ll be able to see the city from a different perspective. Take your time to explore the city from the water, it will make you understand how important Bosphorous is to the city. Though you can choose among a large number of companies (it’s not hard to run into some errand boy asking you to get on “best ferry ride of Istanbul”), Sehir Hatları offers the best service. Once your full Bosphorous is finished, you will be just halfway through the adventure: the best part comes with the bus ride back along the beautiful shores of the Asian side of the city. Brace yourself (or at least find somewhere to hang to), because super steep and narrow roads, sudden turns and crazy bus drivers will accompany you for an hour or so. It’s fun! (and it’s cheap!)

 

It is one of these places that you have to see, at least once in a lifetime. And I already miss the beauty of this city. And what is more, I definitely will write a few blog posts more on it- there is a lot more to tell. Or show!



Love,
Aiste

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s