European cities are kind of my 'thing'. I love getting my fill of historical sightseeing but also indulging in the different cultural aspects of each city, such as the food, the drink, and the fashion. Wandering around a new city, discovering hidden treasures as well as classic tourist favourites is something I simply love and I'm happy to say I've ticked quite a few off the bucket list so far.
This summer, I decided Istanbul was on the cards for a 5 day break. Turkey was a brand new country for me and with plenty of cultural sights to see but also great weather and hotels with gorgeous rooftop pools, it seemed like the best of both worlds for sightseeing as well as a little bit of R&R.
People refer to Istanbul as the place where 'the East meets the West' and it really is the perfect way to describe it. It was nothing like any European city I've been to before as it was very Eastern with heavy Islamic influences. Beautiful mosques and hamams scattered the skyline and the sound of the call to prayer could be heard all over the city at various times throughout the day.
On the other hand, there was clearly a Western-inspired, cosmopolitan side to the city as well. Istanbul really came alive in the evenings, with lots of cool rooftop restaurants and bars and the youth of the city out in full force to socialise and party the night away. The combination of Eastern and Western influences was truly fascinating.
I managed to fit quite a lot in to my mini break, visiting the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque and the Basillica Cistern on the first day. We also squeezed in a boat cruise along the Bosphorus river and a tour of the famous Spice Market later in the week. The rest of the time was spent eating my weight in Turkish Delight, testing out the local tea and coffee, and relaxing with a cocktail by the pool at our beautiful hotel, admiring the panoramic view of the city.
Istanbul, you were great.