2016 has been a hell of a year for Turkey and things are not looking great politically going into 2017 either. With the attempted coup earlier this year taking place a month before we were scheduled to embark on our Eurotrip, we had a long discussion about whether or not we should continue with the Istanbul leg of the trip. For a while I understood what it felt like to be a European contemplating a trip to deep dark Africa and wondering if they are going to make it out alive or if they will be mauled by a lion on their way from their hotel to the Waterfront. It was at this stage that we decided to put our adult diapers on go explore the world like we had always intended on doing. What a great decision that ended up being. I’m sure there are more articles than Google can host that will make you think twice about visiting Istanbul but here are a few reasons why we are glad we decided to make the trip regardless. (AM)
The historic sights
Istanbul is old and not old like your normal European cities that we have covered thus far. I’m talking ridiculously old. For instance, you can still see the defensive walls that surround the city when it was known as Constantinople, which were built in the 4th century.
There are almost 3000 active mosques in Istanbul and these form a big part of the city’s architectural style and are not to be missed (although we didn’t get a chance to actually visit the inside of one unfortunately)
What we did get to see is was the Dolmabahçe Palace which was the Monarch’s palace during the Ottoman empire. (AM)
If ever you want to experience a friendly, kind and warm nation, then Istanbul is the place to be! This was my second time and I found that they’d become even friendlier, if this was at all possible!
The Turkish are warm, kind, hospitable and everything that you’d need them to be. And this is just the general public, it’s not even those at the hotel where you’re staying and that you’re paying. This is just their nature.
The hotel staff also went out of their way to accommodate us with anything extra that we required, nothing is too much trouble. (TL)
You will never drink as much tea as you do in Istanbul. You’ll walk into any shop and at every shop they offer you tea. You even get to pick your flavour. Even the silk scarf shop had tea for us whilst we shopped. (TL)
What’s the point of heading to Turkey and not getting Turkish Delight? This isn’t just any Turkish Delight, we were dumbfounded at the great range they have on offer. We tasted as much as we could and Boyfriend bought a delicious selection of sweets. (TL)
Ramazan Canbaz Ramazan Canbaz was a stand out store in terms of both service and offering. We ended up walking out with copious amounts of Turkish delight as well as Turkish tea. On top of that I just had to buy one of those bling tea sets because whats the point of drinking Turkish tea back home if I can’t drink it like a Turkish Sultan. (AM)
The shopping in Istanbul is crazy. I wished that we had waited with all the shopping. Everything is so much cheaper and everything is so beautiful. (TL)
Turkey is obviously well known for their fabrics so understandably so this was one of the main shopping items for us. I don’t think I have ever had a more pleasant shopping experience than the trip to Istanbul Pashmina’s. From the outside it looks like a regular shop on the main road but it’s anything but. I personally despise being over sold by Sales Assistants and there is a thin line between ‘assisting’ and ‘pestering’. These guys were pros and I ended buying way more than I ever intended to. Friendly, informative and surprisingly honest about their product and just trying to make a sale. I can’t recommend this store enough. Not only did they have great product, but it was a pleasure spending money there. I’d go back – even if just for the tea. (AM)
Turkish night show & boat cruise
A boat cruise on the Bosphorus River is a spectacular enough experience add to that a traditional Turkish night show and you really have a top outing. We didn’t know what to expect from the show and it had the potential to be cheesy, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting to dress up like Turkish Monarch was just the cherry on top. On the cruise you are literally directing two continents as the Bosphorus river separates Europe and Asia making Istanbul the only city in the world that spans two continents. (AM)
Aside from the night cruise you can also take day time cruises which take you all the way out to the end of the Bosphorus river. Some of them will even stop at one of the small Prince’s islands, off the coast of Istanbul.
If you feel like there is no hope in the world, then Istanbul is your place. You will not find friendlier people anywhere else. They are trustworthy and they’re all so willing to help and make sure that you enjoy your stay in Istanbul. What’s been happening is very sad, but we remember Istanbul and its beautiful people and pray that the situation improves soon, because many more people need to experience this country. (TL)