A city of mosques, cats and Bosphorus
07.03.2013 - 11.03.2013
View Istanbul 2013 on danics's travel map.
It's been a while since I returned from Istanbul, but unfortunately, I hadn't have the chance to drop a few lines in the blog.
Istanbul wasn't even in my "to visit" list, but when suddenly I saw a flight promotion from Turkish Airlines, the idea started building in my subconscious, so, a couple days later, I said goodbye to some of my savings and invested in a flight to Istanbul. My vacation days aren't that many, so I only managed to go there for a few days.
After arriving at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, which is in my opinion, a very modern and uncomplicated airport, I headed to Sultanahmet, the old part of the city and it's historical center, where I was going to stay. A very calm, clean and beautiful part of the city. The hotel had a nice location and a room that was big enough for a family!
I won't go into many detail of the main sightseeing places, which consist of several mosques, the cistern, etc., but I will tell you that walking around Istanbul gave me a sense of visiting a place with a very old history, a place of cultural and commercial interchange. I tried to imagine the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar and many other "places where you can buy everything" some hundred years ago and it was so easy. You will be drawn by the sellers of tea, spices, turkish delight, baklava, nuts and will most likely get the will to buy something.
Istanbul is a city where there seems to be a mixture of many peoples, cultures and ethnicities (since it is the "unofficial" capital of Turkey - the real capital is actually Ankara), becoming a "sample" of Turkey itself. I traveled into the Anatolian part of Istanbul (which is in Asia), and the contrasts are evident.
It is a city that is quickly developing into a modern city and the traffic is chaotic (which is even more surprising due to the fact that gasoline costs 2€/L), but I'll definitely recommend Istanbul to my friends and to you, as I think it has something to offer for everyone.
I decided that I could not leave Istanbul without going to a football match. As Fenerbahçe was playing at their stadium, I went there. The atmosphere is very lively, as football is almost like a religion in Turkey (a little bit more than in Portugal). This concluded the visit to Istanbul, leaving me wanting to return there, and to visit a bit more of this big country.