Istanbul

TURKEY

About Istanbul

LOCATION

 
41.0082° N
28.9784° E

Official site →

"Istanbul straddles the European and Asian borders. The busy city is loud, old, and lively. The daily prayers chanting over the loudspeakers add to the exotic ambiance of Turkey."

This was one of the cities I'll need to devote more time to. We barely got a chance to visit the Asian side of the city, there just wasn't enough time. The transport system is an efficient way of getting around and out of such a busy city. It was pretty impressive how the city has state of the art trams butted against buildings centuries old.

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Newfoundland & Labrador is about as north east as you can get in North America.

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Flying in at 1am was not fun, but the Airbnb was nice.

The Grand Bazaar

The massive maze that is the Grand Bazaar is a great excuse to wander without an agenda. We didn't quite feel brave enough to do the whole haggling thing but was fun wandering and elbowing your way through it.

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Hagia Sophia

Currently more of a museum, the Hagia Sophia was at one point a church, then a mosque.  I found the architecture to be impressive but the inside was pretty straigth-forward.  I'm glad I went but I probably wouldn't care to pay for entrance to it a second time.

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Other Sights & Sounds

The great thing about Istanbul is that it jam packs its popular and oldest attractions into a pretty compact space. This means that we were able to visit the Hagia Sophia, the ancient Cisterns, Blue Mosque and Galata Tower in one hit. I particularly recommend taking the elevator up to the top of the Galata tower. On a clear day, it offers great views of the European and Asian side of the city.

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The view from the Galata tower.

Final Thoughts

I found the grand bazaar to be kind of underwhelming, there was lots of activity sure, but the shops just didn't have anything that interesting and the shop owners seemed listless. I think travel shows kind of overhype it. That said, I'm kind of sad we didn't get to explore much of the Asian side of the city. Maybe next time I go back I'll focus purely on that area.

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Currently based out of the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

Brunch is pretty great here.

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