One of the most amazing places I have visited has been Istanbul, and ever since I have wanted to go and see more of Turkey. The draw to Istanbul was the Hagia Sophia, or Ayasofya. It is now a museum, once a church when Istanbul was Constantinople and then a Mosque. It is the most exotic and spectacular building I can think of, it takes your breath away.
Istanbul is alluring because of the “Eurasian" Culture. It has this surreal feeling. East meets West in so many ways (I couldn’t help but think of James bond movies.) One of the few cities to straddle a two continents. The city itself is feels culturally rich and ancient.
Of all the places I have been, my memories here are the strongest. The sound of the Adhan, or calls to prayer that boom over the city, the massive amounts of stray cats that wander around like city pets, the heat, Syrian protests (scary!)
I remember in the airport talking to two little blonde Turkish girls, who were trying to practice their English. Their parents were dressed in traditional Muslim fashion and encouraging them to speak to us. I really felt like a traveler at that point rather than a tourist.
Turkey is one place I would love to explore more and really immerse myself in the culture and lifestyle. Next time I visit I hope to see Bodrum, the vacation area for locals, and Cappadocia, where the city seems to be built into the rock!
Don’t forget to eat the ice cream, try to be outside for Adhan, go to a turkish bath, get lost in the Grande Bazaar, and sip coffee over the Bosphorus.
(Images from Personal Collection and Google Images)