I knew I would love Istanbul—mosques, fresh scent of kebab and tea in the air, and a true East-meets-West metropolis. Christian’s older brother had gone there years ago with his wife and he loved it, describing it as a place with such a unique mix of cultures and that it was most certainly the best city in Europe. Hearing this and also knowing just how important Istanbul has been for so many centuries (it’s the former Constantinople for Petes-sake!), Istanbul was definitely on our list of places to visit. Last Easter we took advantage of our 4 day weekend and jetsetted across Europe to Turkey. We were really excited that Christian’s twin brother (I have a twin sis too! Actually we’re part of a weird network of twins that is definitely deserving of a separate post, you won’t believe it!) and his girlfriend were also craving a quick getaway, so they joined us for the weekend. All the great things we heard about Istanbul were about to come true...and did!
The four of us bunked in a hostel and ventured around the city, kicked off our shoes to enter the Blue Mosque and explored the grandeur of both the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul actually sits on two continents—Europe and Asia—and being there almost makes you forget about the Western world altogether. The streets were filled with kebab stands and markets selling exotic lamps and the women were quite fashionably clothed from head-to-toe with colourful head scarves and garments. The skyline is riddled with mosques which every now-and-then call its inhabitants to prayer 5 times a day. Christian and his bro were ofcourse happy campers with some of the most delicious Turkish food we’ve tasted—kebabs, pides, fresh Turkish bread for dirt cheap. I was stoked because the city was run amok with cute little kitties (Christian and I from then on dubbed Istanbul ‘Kitty City!’). Getting lost in the Grand Bazaar and the small streets surrounding Sultahnemet Square felt like we stepped back in time and four days in Istanbul went by fast but we enjoyed every minute. Our nightcaps usually consisted of a few local Efes beers and some puffs on an Apple or Melon flavored waterpipe (when in Rome right?). Time to let the pics do the talking :)