Istanbul (Turkey Part I)

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I’ve never seen anything like Istanbul. Scratch that – I’ve never experienced anything like Istanbul. I know that I can’t do this city justice in this blog post. I’ve been avoiding writing this post because of that very fact.

Istanbul sandwiched our Turkey trip. (The worst pun…forgive me?!) The first couple days of our trip, we were based in Istanbul to kick-off the tour, and then at the end of our journey, we decided we’d stay in Istanbul again to soak in the continent-straddling city.

We picked Turkey for this trip because of the country’s history and influence, and we picked right. The Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Suleymaniye Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Taksim Square, the Grand Bazaar…we did it all. And we’d do it all again. I can’t share everything I learned about the history and importance of these landmarks and architectural wonders, so it means you’ll have to go experience it for yourself.

Beyond the architecture and the history, this culture is overwhelming. Your senses are inundated with the call to prayer, the gypsy beggars, the confectioners’ sugar puffs from bites of Turkish Delight, and the pungent smell of fish, fresh from the Bosphorous. When you stumble across a mid-street poker game and stray cats resting on discarded armchairs, it’s hard not to pinch yourself.

I was trying to think of what I enjoyed most, and the final photos in this post capture it perfectly. Nick and I are not morning people and I question if we ever will be. But on the morning of our departure, we rose early to watch the sun rise over the point where the Bosphorous meets the Sea of Marmara. The stillness of this moment in such a captivating city was the perfect conclusion for our journey. I’d battle the alarm clock snooze button to do it again.

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