The magic of Istanbul
We recently spent three nights in Istanbul which – with its amazing architecture, incredibly friendly people and apple tea – has won a place in our hearts as one of our favourite cities in the world.
The cliche of East meeting West really is true in Istanbul, with the city straddling two continents. The last time I was there was in my previous life as a journalist during which I only had time to view a brief glimpse of the city’s charm. I knew Jay would love it just as much as I did and getting to meet up with my brother Adam and his girlfriend Elena (who live in Madrid) was an added bonus.
We arrived late at night, in the pouring rain, and took the tube and tram from the airport to the historic part of the city where – somewhere! – our apartment awaited. Unfortunately many of the streets don’t have signs and the best word to describe our, increasingly soggy, map was ‘interesting’.
After the warmest welcome we’ve ever encountered we dried off and headed straight to a restaurant for some kebabs and beer – delicious.
The next day we were all set to hit the city’s sights. We were then somewhat surprised to find a police blockade, complete with tanks, at the end of our street. It transpired that Barack Obama had also decided to visit the mosques that morning, which meant that we were forced to hit the markets instead (oh well!).
It seems we weren’t the only ones who were not happy about Barack Obama’s visit!
I love to rummage through markets when abroad, and these were my best yet.
Istanbul has a population of 13 million, and yet everyone was so friendly and helpful. It was wonderful to be in such a foreign place and to feel so at home.
The view from our apartment. It was amazing to hear the call to prayer floating across the city.
We drank a lot of apple tea…yum!
All photos by Jay – mine are still in the camera!