Exploring Istanbul was in my bucket list since a couple of years, and when I finally booked the flight I was on cloud nine!
Music, round of drinks and 20 degrees in January: I definitely didn’t have a bad welcome in here!
Europe and Asia live side by side in this 15 million people metropolis, in an amazing mishmash of different cultures, sounds and scents spread in every single corner of this amazing city.
Also the accommodation at the Boutique Hotel No 18 had been exactly the right choice: super position and receiving and the room was very nice too.
Putting down the luggage took us only a couple of minutes, as we couldn’t wait to exploring Istanbul. We started strolling around Beyoğlu streets, surrounded by the joyful mood all around.
During dinner we then had fun with the nice people seated next to us. Between one raki toast and a guitar strum they were trying to teach us how to pronounce Teşekkür ederim (thank you in Turkish). Unfortunately they didn’t have success :'(
The day after we woke up with the muezzin call: it was my first time and definitely it’s something very special, a unique sensation.
We then followed the people flood into Istiklal Caddesi (Istanbul shopping and bar street) and we arrived in Taksim square, simply immense and full of history.
With the underground we then reached Eminönü,where we boarded a Bosforo tour ferry.
For nearly two hours we were cradled by the gentle swinging and by the seagull flying, while the mosques profiles peeked out from the city hills.
The aperitif could just be at Leb-i Derya. When I walked in I felt like my heart had skipped a beat because of the breathtaking view.
From its windows you can see all the city. An even more astonishing show considering the sunset pink light and the muezzin chant, that guides Istanbul to the night.
The following days slipped away quickly exploring Istanbul. We visited the marvellous Aya Sofya, Blu mosque, Basilica Cistern, Galata Tower and Hippodrome.
We then took never ending walks through the side messy alleys, a ride on the nostalgic red tram and obviously we did a tour at the Gran Bazar.
Exploring Istanbul means also to taste the sensational local pastries and to enjoy the yummy turkish food. Among the others, I absolutely recommend to have dinner at Lokanta Helvetia.
During my stay, I also loved my chats with the nice and friendly residents and the cats, that seem to be the second citizens of Istanbul. They literally seem to guide you to the thousand hints of this magic city.
Just love it!