Merhaba, my dear readers! I guess we are getting on with a very good start. You already know what this post is all about. One of the things I enjoy doing from time to time is e-mailing one of my best friends to fill her in on details about my travel destinations and provide her with more of a quick guide on my travels. She’s a travel enthusiast and appreciates my opinions and travel tips. I quite enjoy writing lengthy e-mails to her filled with photographs, then when we eventually meet up over coffee we go over everything together face-to-face and talk endlessly. I can say that we are more of best pen pals which is very powerful. It’s amazing how two people can be so close over distance. I believe in the power of words and communication between individuals. It can bring two people so close together and bind them for life. 🙂
So without further ado, I’ll leave you to read the email I had sent to my friend after I visited Istanbul for a week in March.
Hey there stranger,
It’s been a while! How I miss you and us talking about new adventures and destinations. I’m in Istanbul right now and I’ll quickly do this before I go to sleep. I want to tell you about Istanbul because it is truly amazing! The culture, the Bosphorus, the food and the way Turkish people live their lives. This city served as a capital for three great civilizations, Rome, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire. There’s a lot to observe and explore. If only you were here with us all.
The Bosphorus is the soul of Istanbul! I fall more in love with it every day . You sit in one of the many cafés that line the beach, drink a latte or Turkish Çay (i.e. black tea) in the cold weather while watching the seagulls. You could easily lose yourself in time. I could spend hours in that moment and not get bored. It felt magical… Like the nicest and longest dream. I can’t get enough of it.The photo below shows the covered bazaar (the old market). This market is 200 years old and I really enjoyed shopping there. It was enchanting to look at the various ottoman crafts. I spent hours and didn’t get bored!! But you must get ready to haggle over the prices. I enjoyed bargaining over the items I wanted to purchase. I used my smiles and batted my eyelashes when the merchants refused to bargain, saying please or Lutfan in Turkish. I can’t say it worked all the time, but it did sometimes. 🙂 Being in the bazaar though felt like going back in time to the Ottoman Empire.
You’ll find below photos of Dolmabahça palace. This is the palace where Atatürk spent his last days ill and passed away on 10 November 1938. Dolmabahça was built by the order of Sultan Abdülmajeed. He loved European and baroque style which inspired the architecture of the palace. The palace has huge gardens, gates and fountains. I have seen the most wonderful staircases and fireplaces in the world!! The palace was exquisite, but unfortunately photography was not allowed inside. It houses the largest chandelier in the world and I gushed when I saw it. It is made entirely of English crystals. Splendid!
Simit is a bagel-like bread which is very popular in Istanbul. Crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. It’s sold everywhere! In street vendors, fancy bakeries and little cafés. I always ordered mine with melted cheese and the taste melted my heart away. Simit and tea always go together and it’s almost a costume to eat it while sipping tea and sitting on a bench by the Bosphorus. It’s expected to throw small bits to the seagulls. 🙂
Hafiz Mustafa sells Turkish delight since 1864. Need I say more? I found delicious varieties which made my taste buds dance with happiness. Delicious, chewy and sugary treats. As I already had told you, I managed to visit Topkapi- the old palace of the Ottoman Sultans. The photo shows the garden where the Sultan’s sons used to practice their archery skills. I liked it, but it was raining heavily that day and we couldn’t enjoy walking around to the various sections/ wards of the palace. It was filled with heritage, but the weather was terrible. Malesef! (meaning too bad).
Istanbul famous for its long historical past and natural beauty, is a city that offers so much to its visitors and tourists. Since our time is limited here and there’s a lot of choices, we are finding a hard time deciding what to see and where to go. Strolling through Istanbul and admiring the city’s history and architecture without worrying too much about the attractions is highly recommended. I’ll leave you with a few more snaps from around Istanbul.
As far as food is concerned, the most celebrated meal of the day in Turkey is Kahvalti or breakfast. The word literally mean before coffee. The breakfast table is always diverse and consists of different types of food and it doesn’t taste the same without Turkish Çay (pronounced Chai and means tea).
In my hotel room now, it’s warm and quiet. There’s a Turkish sweet delight “lokum” in Turkish or “rahatü’l hulküm” in Arabic left on my pillow. It’s calling for me. The ancients in Turkey used to say “sweet delights bring sweet talk”. I’m hoping that this sweet delight will bring me sweet dreams. 🙂
Istanbul is worth visiting and I highly recommend it…! Add it to your list of the places you wish to visit.
Time to go to bed! Good night or iyi geceler.
We will talk more soon.