Touch down in Turkey…

And so it begins again. After an amazing guilt-free 5 weeks back in the land of Oz (no job hunting, no house hunting, no pressure!) filled with family, friends, wine and no less than 2 weddings – we were off on the road again.

The journey began with an epic 15hr flight to Abu Dhabi (my longest flight to date) before another 5 hours onto Istanbul. When we finally touched down in the late afternoon I irritatingly had this song playing on repeat in my head – over and over AND OVER AGAIN… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOG8emH4Ab8. Try listening to it without it getting stuck in yours too!

The first day in Istanbul involved a whole lot of ‘you need to stay awake, FIGHT THE JETLAG!’ type happenings. Fortunately we did manage to wack our sleeping patterns into Turkish shape because the next two days were BIG.

  • Topkapi Palace and Harem – check.
  • Hagia Sophia – check
  • Blue Mosque – check
  • Grand Bazaar – check
  • Spice Bazaar – check
  • Galata Tower – check
  • Basilica Cistern – check…

…and so the list went on.  It was truly amazing, but such a big overload of sites in such a small time! I think it really made me realise that the relaxed – ‘oh this place is nice, let’s chill here for a week’ style of travel that we went with for the 5 months in Central America is certainly not going to be at play here!

Inside the Hagia Sophia…

My definite favourite of all the places we visited was the Hagia Sophia. This building started off as an orthodox Basilica and then became a mosque before being converted to a museum open to the public. The building itself is MASSIVE and the combination of the height of the central dome, the chandelier type lighting, the 7m wide medallions with beautiful  inscriptions praising Allah as well as the patterned mosaics make the whole thing seem pretty magical. If you ever go to Istanbul please do yourself a favour and see it!

Funnily enough for all of the amazing sites we saw my other highlight of Istanbul was a few well-deserved lazy hours we spent smoking Hookah at a Nargile (hookah lounge) in the Tophane Neighbourhood, not far from our hostel. Lounging outside on bean bags that looked not entirely unlike racing car seat covers we puffed away on strawberry tobacco and drank apple tea whilst watching the middle aged Turkish men seated nearby play neverending games of backgammon. We were served hot and salty Gozleme cooked fresh by slightly gruff lady in the stall next door to the café. A beautiful Mosque peered at me over Will’s shoulder, the call to prayer started to ring throughout the city and everything was irrefutably beautiful – and Turkish!

A little afternoon hookah session…

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Comments
2 Responses to “Touch down in Turkey…”
  1. ashleypaige4 says:

    Great post! I would love to visit Turkey, it’s pretty high up on my list! Thanks for sharing, hope to hear more.

  2. Phil McCrack says:

    Wow that sounds super exciting. I bet you wont find your traveling companions as cool as those in central though.
    Phil

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