The hot and cultural travel destination of Istanbul is attracting lots of tourist this summer.
As the largest city in Turkey, Istanbul is located on two different continents, visitors get to experience a whirlwind of history and adventure from a European and Asian perspective.
First off, the original kebabs must be eaten at plate of shredded lamb, cucumber, tomatoes, french fries and butter rice savors those taste buds. A fresh non-alcoholic beverage of pineapple and orange juice with ice cubes is refreshing as you view the prime location close to the Best Western Istanbul Saint Sophia Hotel. Afterwards, a stroll in Gulhame Park captures beautiful flowers, trees, streams, monuments and statues dedicated to Turkey. Of course then you must visit the massive Hagia Sophia. It’s a place to stop and take those Kodak moment pictures to treasure forever! The Byzantine and Ottoman Empire displays in excellent fashion their famous monuments including the Obelisk.
Afterwards, walk along the cobblestone streets towards the Hippodrome of Constantinople to feel and see history starting at the Islamic Art & Culture Museum filled with carpets, cooking ware, across from the Blue Mosque. Remember when visiting to cover your head and shoulders as well as remove your shoes as a sign of respect. Then within the center promenade, you can buy colorful scarfs, eat roasted corn, Turkish bread and enter some of the most amazing carpet shops for intricately designed tapestry. Following that for shopping, Taskim Square, Grand Baazar, Spice Bazaar offer all those cool local souvenirs. Also shopping on Istiklal Avenue in Beyoglu district can be surprising as to what you can find such as traditional tea sets.
When searching for your next stop, the promenade along the river shows the Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, Maiden’s Tower, Bosphorus Bridge all located on the European side. Soon enough though, there will be a tunnel approximately 60 meters until the sea to connect Istanbul’s European and Asian lands. Then the Asian side is more residential featuring local shops and stores full of traditional trinkets of all kinds.
It’s important to see the three lovely Princes’ Islands with fish market towns, swimming and beers on the beach to see the Golden Horn. Also the horse carriage ride is cute and romantic for those couples out there. The Meditteranean climate is decent for a shirt, a pair of shorts and sneakers. The strolling about especially Valens Aqueduct for the amazing architecture.
Heading back to the hotel, listen to MTV Turkey to get in the mood with local tunes and get hype for a night out. Begin at the Yildizlar Restaurant for fresh seafood ranging from lobster, crab and prawns. Then for an after dinner drink, Raki, a non-sweet, anise-flavored spirit gets you started for a night out.
When dinner is finished, take a taxi to Kadikoy where there’s an assortment of entertainment including cafes for authentic Turkish coffee, restaurants, pubs, lounges, bars, clubs cinemas and art galleries. Dress code is formal with nice shirts and pants for men as well as dresses and heels for women.
Despite the neighboring nation, Syria protesting against political reforms, Turkey has remained stable in welcoming people with hospitality. Turkey hasn’t let the demonstrations disrupt its flow of tourism. There have even been marches for better protection over their women to convey a message to their society.
Continuing on this Turkish adventure, next stop…Bodrum!
All photos taken by Niya Sinckler.