Istanbul

Istanbul Travel Blog

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Harem, Topkapi Palace
Istanbul was a very last minute thing - we found out from someone in Varna that we were only allowed to stay in Bulgaria for 30 consecutive days, and we were on the 29th, so we had to make a quick run away and head over the border!  The only problem was, we only found out about three hours before our departure that we had to pay for a visa. The bigger problem with that was this - I couldn't take any money out - for some reason  Bulgarian cashpoints are a pain in the arse and refuse to accept my card. In fact, any of them, I am still yet to find a machine in Bulgaria that will accept it! And my friend had no money (think she was waiting for some to arrive in her bank account!) So, we panicked, and naively thought we mnight be able to pay for it by card.
Blue Mosque
It was worth a try anyway! So, on arriving at the border (at about 4am) we begged the innocents, and when we got told no they didn't accept cards, we tried to bat our eyelashes and flirt with the border control. That didn't work either. So we had to turn around to the nearest people - thankfully a lovely young Dutch couple, and ask to borrow 30€ for our visas on the promise of paying them back as soon as we arrived in Istanbul. It was SERIOUSLY embarassing! Once we arrived in the city, and we'd paid them back, we hopped on the metro thing and headed to the centre. Our hostel was really close to the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace  (Bahaus I tihnk it was called) and had the most incredible views over the top of the city if you sat on their roof terrace. They had great breakfasts too!

Istanbul was very different to any of the other places we'd visited before and whereas as in Croatia, SLovenia and Bulgaria, everyone stared at my friiend as she is Burmese and therefore stood out from the rest of everyone else, in Istanbul, everyone stared at me, being a tall blonde girl! We also had not planned on going there, and had basically packed for a beach trip, so we didn't have very many modest clothes! Which didn't help with the staring thing! We got a lot of hassle from guys on the street offering us 'Turkish apple tea' or to 'visit their carpet shop' and we spent our whole time crossing the roads to avoid them!

On the other hand, it was an amazing experience.
Blue MOsque
The atmosphere was so lively and bustling, the history of the place is incredible as well. Just visiting the Palace and the Mosque was fascinating. I really had a moment when I walked into the Blue Mosque - it was so beautiful, with so much history, and the atmosphere inside it was so calming!

We didn't make it across to the other side of the sea. We went there one night for dinner and a few drinks but we never saw it during the day.

The Grand Bazaar was awesome as well - I don't tihnk anything I've seen so far can compare with the atmosphere, the colours and so on. We had such fun haggling for things - I came out with a light shade and a shisha pipe (which got stolen 5 days after I got back from England :( )

But yes, I think next time I go (which I will - I didn't see enoguh of the place - 3 days there really isn't enough to see everything) I will take more conservative clothing, more money, go at a cooler part of the year (it was seriously hot!) and go for a bit longer so I can make a few trips to places nearby.
But yes, after 3 days, I'd had enough of being pestered to be honest and really couldn't cope with staying any longer.
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Harem, Topkapi Palace
Harem, Topkapi Palace
Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque
Blue MOsque
Blue MOsque
Blue MOsque and Topkapi Palace
Blue MOsque and Topkapi Palace
Hagia Sofia
Hagia Sofia
Column in he underground cistern
Column in he underground cistern
Me, Khwan and two Americans we met…
Me, Khwan and two Americans we me…
Grand Bazaar
Grand Bazaar
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Backgammon on the streets of Insta…
Backgammon on the streets of Inst…
HAgia Sophia
HAgia Sophia
View of the Bosphorus
View of the Bosphorus
Khwan with her shisha
Khwan with her shisha
Turksih lamps - lots of them!!
Turksih lamps - lots of them!!
Me, Khwan and the Bosphorus!
Me, Khwan and the Bosphorus!
View from the top of our hostel (B…
View from the top of our hostel (…
Us relaxing for the morning on our…
Us relaxing for the morning on ou…
Me in my tea towel at the Turkish …
Me in my tea towel at the Turkish…
And Khwan in hers
And Khwan in hers
Our funny clog things
Our funny clog things
Entrance to the Turkish baths
Entrance to the Turkish baths
Us on way out of Istanbul
Us on way out of Istanbul
...we got lost!
...we got lost!
Istanbul
photo by: Memo