Taking Back My Twenties

Istanbul!

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 | 9 comments

Hello from home sweet home! We had a lovely journey to Turkey and I have so much to share.

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Our first stop was Istanbul, and we spent four nights at the Hotel Amira in the old town. I would HIGHLY recommend this hotel as the service was fantastic and the staff helped us navigate the overwhelming city. The breakfast was also wonderful and our room was nice.

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There was also a roof top deck, which was great for relaxing in the evenings. Istanbul had loads of roof bars and each one had unique views of the city and water! So many breathtaking moments!

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We spent most of our time in Istanbul seeing the sights in the old town – there’s so much historical significance and we barely scratched the surface. The city is fascinating because the old and modern sides are so different – the old town was almost frozen in time and packed with families (and tourists) whereas the modern side was bustling with young people and western shops. We watched a wild gay pride parade near Taksim Square.

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We visited the Blue Mosque on our first day, which was so close to our hotel that we could hear the call to prayer!

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and Hagia Sofia, which is a Greek Orthodox church turned mosque.

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The detail and beauty of both mosques were impossible to capture!

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We visited Topkapi Palace where Sultans lived!

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This was one of my favorites because I love seeing how people used to live. The views from the terraces were also awesome.

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We also saw the basilica cistern, an underground water chamber built in the 6th century.

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Aside from historical places, we explored different neighborhoods and the bazaars.

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Ortakoy is a cute waterfront area on the modern side where we went to dinner one night – there are beautiful mosques everywhere you turn.

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We also took the ferry over to the Asian side to explore the markets and have lunch.

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It was a neat experience because that side of Istanbul is much less touristy and I felt like we got to observe every day life.

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On our last day in Istanbul we also did a Turkish bath!! This means laying in a hot sauna until you start sweating and then having a Turkish man scrub you down! I like hot, but man the sauna was almost unbearable. I was so relieved when we were called for the actual bath because they used cool water and rinsed us down. Matt and I were side by side on marble slabs (traditional baths are same-sex only) and then we got mini massages. It was such a cool experience and a nice treat!

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Next up: the food!

9 Comments

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  1. Susan

    What a fantastic trip! Turkey is fascinating.

  2. Emily

    The views look amazing! Excited to read your recaps of the trip since it’s somewhere I’ve never really considered traveling. But let’s be honest, I’m most looking forward to your food review.

  3. Laura@SneakersandSpatulas

    I’m curious about the head scarf you’re wearing in one picture. Did you need to wear one or did you just where one for personal comfort to blend in?

  4. lisa

    Hi. I’m headed to Turkey for my honeymoon in a few weeks. I would love to hear your recommendation for where to do the Turkish bath. I know a lot of them are same sex only and we’re hoping to do it together.
    Can’t wait for the rest of your recaps!

  5. Kat

    Laura, thank you for the sweet note about Spot. We were lucky to have the time with him that we did.

    But let’s talk about YOU! What an amazing trip. We visited Istanbul on our honeymoon for just a day and it was so fun to see all of these sights again through your eyes. It is a gorgeous city I so wish we had the amount of time that you did! Also, how wild is Topkaki Palace? Those Sultans were very industrious.

    I cannot wait to hear more about your trip, what you ate, etc. Be well, dear!

    • Laura

      Thanks, Kat:)

      The Palace was wild – I loved seeing the giant, feminine (this kept auto-correcting to feline, haha) garments the Sultans wore!

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