I always get asked how I am able to travel so much. As I mentioned in this post, "Amsterdam + how to travel the world on a small budget", there are many tips and tricks one can apply, and my Istanbul trip in November was one of such.
I planned my travel for the fall, as I could not afford to go in the summer (peak season). I already had a 4 day weekend for thanksgiving, and I figured I'd take some few days off before the holiday and have a long nice vacation in Europe. Barcelona and Lisbon were my main destination, and when I started looking at airlines, Turkish airline offered the cheapest option to Barcelona. Turkey had never rated high on the list of countries I wanted to visit, but a 3-day lay over (to and fro) was all the convincing I needed. For return lay over, Turkish airline was responsible for the hotel and breakfast, all I had to do was pay for a night hotel for the arrival lay over.
Istanbul has great transportation and getting around was a breeze. It also helped that most of the old tourist sights are located in one central area, and my hotel was right smack in the middle of the Old District—Sultanahmet Square.
As a black woman in Istanbul, I stuck out like a sore thumb! Uncomfortable stares, warm smiles, not so warm smiles, advances from men, and people surreptitiously (and not so discreetly too!) taking pictures of me, were just some of the things I had to deal with.
Istanbul is indeed a magical place, and I could not fit all the pictures into one post. For now, I am sharing pictures of my second day in this amazing city. Pictures of my other adventures in this city will be posted up soon. Enjoy….
Top of my to-do list was seeing the sun rise from the rooftop of my hotel, and I was up bright and early to see this
The view was amazing, and one of the hotel employees was kind enough to take my pictures. Side note: You do not need a selfie stick or tripod in Istanbul; there are nice people in every nook and cranny waiting to help you
Then I made my way to Hagia Sophia
Check out this stray dog photo bombing my shot :-)
I am not sure what this building is, but I thought the wall design was really cool
I took a nice stroll in the Sultanahment District and headed back to my hotel for breakfast and to change to a pair of comfy jeans
When I got back out, the streets were bustling with all kinds of activities. Street vendors were setting up their wares, while workers and school children were rushing off to catch the tram
Roasted chestnut and corn filled every street corner. Unfortunately, I was still stuffed from breakfast and I couldn’t indulge in this local delicacy
I made my way to the interior of the Blue Mosque
Women are required to cover their hair, and everyone has to take their shoes off
The interior of the Blue mosque is as amazing as the exterior. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture the beauty
A pretty neat sign post I came across
When I was done at the Blue Mosque, I headed to the Grand Bazaar.
So many colorful sights to behold as I made my way to the legendary market
Look at all that color!
Seeing this shoe shiner on the street corner reminded me so much of my home country, Nigeria
There are stray dogs all over the city
...and stray cats too!
This really nice guy wanted to take a picture with me. I obliged him, and then took a picture of him
Freshly squeezed pomegranate juice seemed to be a staple in Istanbul
Then I finally made it to Grand Baazar
|These traders wanted to take pictures with me|
And then the nice gentleman above offered me some yummy apple tea
When I was done at the market, I walked back to the Sultanahmet Square, sat for a while and took in the view around me, including the German fountain ( a gift from the German emperor). Once I was done, I headed back to the hotel, picked up my luggage and hopped on the train to go catch my flight to Barcelona.
I will be posting picture from day 1&3 before the month runs out. I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it encourages you to maximize your layovers.
Happy hump day.