Monday, 6 April 2015

Istanbul

A little over a month ago, MrL and I travelled to Istanbul for my birthday, a city known for it's history, architecture, food and name changes from Byzantia to Constantinople; I had heard wonderful things about Istanbul before I had even arrived, and with 5 days in the city, I wanted to enjoy Istanbul to the fullest!


Beşiktaş to Sultanahmet
The best way to travel anywhere (I like to think) is by foot, and I was happy making the 8km journey from Beşiktaş to Sultanahmet. Walking the historic stone streets, feeling the hive of activity from the nearby bazaars, and seeing historical sites such as the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
Süleymaniye Mosque through Galata bridge


Brunch at Four Seasons Sultanahmet

We were in search of traditional Anatolian tastes, not wanting to miss out instead of ordering a small selection, I asked for the whole tray!
WARNING: it's pointless to think that you will be able to eat a main and dessert following the tray of cold appetisers and home-made bread that come your way. Unbutton your jeans and enjoy the Muhammara.

Traditional Meze
Sights of the Old City

The Grand Bazaar had been on my must see list for a while, unsure what to expect, when I read about the covered market home to over 3000 shops, I thought, I have to experience this, if only once. On entering you are met with Turkish ceramics, textiles, art, jewellery, fashions and faux fashions...simply overwhelming beauty!



A visit to Istanbul wouldn't be worthwhile, without seeing the Grand Bazaar in all of its splendour; treating your senses to the sight and smells of spices and dried fruits in the Egyptian Spice Market; delving below the city and back in time, underground, to the Basilica Cistern; visiting the heart of the Ottoman empire, Topkapi Palace, and Hagia Sophia...
I felt I had saved the best till last, I covered up, took off my shoes and entered the Blue Mosque and looked up at the ceiling and blue Iznik tiles covering the walls.


Eat Istanbul
The first day's brunch, had rather spoilt me and I wasn't exactly sure what could top my traditional Turkish meze. My birthday breakfast was a very good start! At Çırağan Palace Kempinski on the European side overlooking the Bosphorus, I enjoyed pancakes (almost daily); come evening it was down to trendy Beyoğlu, where your 'Quattro formaggi' was served alongside music from the resident DJ at Mama Shelter. MrL treated me to a lovely Turkish-Scandinavian inspired dinner at Mikla and I found street food...pleased all round!

A Simit for MrsL


"Istanbul is inspiring because it has its own code of architecture, literature, poetry, music."
Christian Louboutin

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