I’d like to start off this blog post by acknowledging all the unbelievably incredible cities of Europe. Paris is romantic, Rome is historic, Munich is social, London is fashionable. They all have their place. But I have decided, before even having visited half the countries I’m here to see, that Istanbul is by far the best of them all.
We arrived in Istanbul to heavy evening traffic, taking is about 2 hours just to get around inside the city walls. We stayed in a hotel for the 2 nights we were there – a welcome break after pitching and taking down tents everyday for the last few days.
We took the evening to unpack and eat dinner on the rooftop of our hotel. As a group we headed out for our first night in Istanbul. We ended up at a great little sheesha bar, having drinks, smoking and dancing. From there we headed to another bar where it all continued. We ended up walking back to our hotel at 2 in the morning, shouting and joking in the street. I ended up buying a bag of Doritos, and eating them on the hotel roof, watching Istanbul buzz all around me.
The next morning we headed out on the walking tour in the pouring rain. We saw the big sights – Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque – they’re absolutely gorgeous in real life. We also visited the grand bazaar which turned out to be a shopper’s dream – so well organized, clean and cheap! You can get lost inside for hours.
We headed to a Turkish bath for the afternoon. It was such a great experience! Very old saunas and dip pools, being scrubbed down by old Turkish women and having a wonderful massage. If you’re in Turkey, you’ve gotta do this!
That evening we had dinner at a belly dancing show – great food and amazing moves. We headed out to the same bar we ended up at the night before. Ended up getting home just as the rain came storming down.