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Istanbul, Turkey – Could It Be the End of the Road?

Another city and another map to learn. Istanbul would be my last stop before heading back to the States for at least 3 months during the holidays.

I was getting tired of figuring out where I was in each stop, where I wanted to stay, managing the bookings and riding the hop-on hop-off bus tour that I always found to be the best introduction to any city. Istanbul had churches, palaces and temples to visit and tour. It is a massive city to maneuver around and learn. I had two weeks left and hopes to explore other Turkish towns high on my visitor’s wish list.

Istanbul lies on two continents. One half of the city proportioned on the continent of Europe and the other half lying in Asia. Even though Turkey is considered a Middle Eastern country, with this strategic position, it is often called the gateway between East and West.

I stayed near the heart of town near Istiklal Street for my first weekend there to give me enough time to decide where I would ultimately want to remain. A weekend was enough to experience the bustle of Taksim square and the noise of the nightlife surrounding my hotel. The hotel was nice, but getting a quiet night’s sleep was more important to me. I decided to move into the Sultanahmet area away from the noise and found comfort in the Istanbul Blue Hotel. A quaint boutique hotel with 5-star decor and service and within walking distance to the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the largest open air market in the world, the Grand Bazaar.I was two days into my stay when the impending illness that was threatening my immune system took over and I was down for the count. It all caught up to me and the already wavering desire to tour another city had fallen to a deep desire to call it all off. I couldn’t find my strength to venture out into Istanbul and much less, other cities. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sleep for days and not leave my hotel room. And to add insult to injury, it started to rain.

I managed to nurse myself back to health, but a week had already gone by and I still had plenty to see. It rained just about every day and my angst to go home was billowing. I was able to see just about everything on a tourists checklist and I even found time to do a hammam crawl. I tried three different ones just to get a feel for the difference in each. I plan on doing a review on all three in a later blog post.

I wasn’t sure at this point if I would continue traveling after my 3 month hiatus during the holidays. I felt I saw just about everything I had a large desire to see. Not to mention, the need to start monetizing my life. I couldn’t continue this way forever. I would soon need to go back to work or find a way to make a living on the road.

Whatever would happen, I was very happy to be heading home, if only for a while.

Here are the highlights of what I saw in pictures:
Near Istiklal Street

Near Istiklal Street

Galata Tower

Galata Tower at night

Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

Washing bins

The bathing basins outside of the mosque

 

Washing bins

It is customary to wash your hands and feet before entering the mosque

Blue Mosque

More of the Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque at night

The Blue Mosque at night

Turkish delights

Turkish delights

 

Cig Koftecisi

Cig Koftecisi was by far my favorite street food. Reminiscent of kibbeh nayyeh. Really good….and spicy!

 

Turkish produce

Turkey had some of the best looking produce stands I’ve ever seen

Turkish pizza

Turkish pizza

Topkapi Palace

I found this part of the Topkapi Palace fascinating. Inside the harem’s quarters.

Topkapi Palace

Harem’s quarters

Hagia Sophia

Inside Hagia Sophia- it was the largest cathedral in the world for nearly a thousand years.

Hamamm

Headed into a hammam

Hamamm

Inside the steamy hammam

 

Grand Bazaar

Headed into the Grand Bazaar

 

Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar

 

Grand Bazaar

Walking through the Grand Bazaar. It is HUGE!

 

Turkish lamps

There were lamps everywhere

Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Turkish cemetery

A Turkish cemetery near the bazaar

 

Lay's potato chips

Interesting flavor of Lays

 

Blue Istanbul Hotel

My 5-star-ish hotel room. I paid 20 euro a night! Just imagine if I had someone to share with how cheap it could have been. And it had breakfast and wi-fi included!

 

 

My recommended guides and books on Istanbul and Turkey:

 

Comments
4 Responses to “Istanbul, Turkey – Could It Be the End of the Road?”
  1. Regina says:

    Chrissy, I am so happy for you that you are doing this and I admire you for being so fearless, too. What an adventure. I would so love to join you on one of you travels one day! May God continue to keep you safe through your journey!

  2. Thank you Regina! It’s been the best experience of my life!

  3. Natalie says:

    At least you got to see what you wanted to see. Sorry to hear about your bouts of illness. It can ruin a trip and damper enthusiasm for everything!!

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