Travel diary… Istanbul

Our trip to Turkey was quite an unexpected one. We were due to take a big family holiday and the destination was up for discussion. Up until this point all family holidays had been in Africa or Asia so I was definitely keen to change things up a little.

Many people at my office had started visiting Istanbul and after a little research I knew that it was a place that my parents and siblings would all enjoy.

Our hotel was ideally situated within walking distance of both the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. Naturally, these stops were first on our list of sights to see. Both are breath taking to say the least. I felt privileged to be in the presence of such grandeur with a lot of the intricate and elaborate design still intact.

Next up Basilica Cistern which has been around for nearly 17 centuries and is still in remarkable condition. These underground waterways are so legendary that movies have even been filmed here. Another definite must see. We also took a boat trip on the Bosphorus, wondered around Taksim and went up to Galata Tower to take in the sights from above.

Finally, the shopping… multiple hours were spent meandering through the little aisles of the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. The colours, the smells, the people, the food… If there was one thing that made me fall in love with this city, these simple markets were it. Unbelievable pyramids of Turkish delight around every corner and it’s not the rose flavoured jelly stuff we grew up eating. Every flavour you can think of and each one more delicious than the one before.

The food stalls in the little alleyways served the best Doner kebabs and chips I have ever eaten packed with flavours and spices that we could see all around us.

One of my very favourite things about Turkey has to be the kaleidoscopic lamps made from stained glass. This more than anything else reminds me so much of this beautiful country no matter where I see it.

Turkey had left a lasting impression on me and should feature on your travel list if a dose of culture and delicious food is what you are looking for.

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