Our first step in Turkey started in Istanbul, formerly called Constantinople, it is one of the most important city of the country. If not the most important.
The particularity of this city is its composition, which is spread over 2 river sides. Istanbul is separated by the Bosphorus and it is one of the rare cities situated on two continents, That is why it makes this place so unique.
There are a lot if districts in Istanbul. The old downtown is where you can see some of the most beautiful buildings in Istanbul, the Blue mosque and Ayasofia. They were constructed centuries ago and are facing each other. Walking between these two beautiful mosques is a moment that you will never forget. A bit more to the west you will find the district of Eminönü, which leads to a thousand of streets and markets, where you can walk all day and get lost very easily. At the north, crossing the Galata bridge, you will find the disctrict of Karakoï. This place is the modern side of Istanbul. Usually called the european Istanbul, this is the place to go if you want to do shopping and if you want to go out. Restaurants, pubs and shops all around you. You will find for sure your souvenirs there.
We arrived in Istanbul by plane and landed in the Istanbul Airport. It is located at the north of the city, approximatly one hour by bus. From there we took one bus line Havaist, which directly brought us in the heart of Istanbul, near the Sultan Ahmet district. It is always a bit strange to arrive at night in a city that you don’t know, because you would like to have your landmarks.
The hotel we choosed to stay in was the Rumours Inn hotel. The good point about it was its situation ideally placed next to the Sultan Ahmet place. Just a five minutes walk and you are in the city, near the most important mosques.
One of the first impressions that you have when discovering Istanbul, is its high amount of mosques, all their roofs and all their towers pointing up to the sky. I remember Tiffany told me that, when the sun sets, if you look at the sky and all the mosques roofs, it is a bit similar to the landscape of Tatooine (a famous planet in the Star wars movies). Look by yourself ! What you see seems totally out of this world.
Downtown of Istanbul is a world appart in the city, because it has nothing to see with the big tourist places that we visited just before. This part of Istanbul is full of life, full of shops and markets. There are thousands of people constantly walking, which makes the city looking like an ant terrier.
Eminömü is the place to do shopping. There are markets everywhere, in every street corner. You are looking for a new trouser ? Be sure that there will be a place where you will find all that you want. This is actually there that I bought a trouser. In a very small and very narrow shop. If I have one advice, take the time to discover the area and do not be afraid of going deeper in the city. This is where you will feel the most the life of Istanbul !
While discovering Istanbul, you will probably notice that some of the buildings look abandonned or in a very bad shape. This gives a very particular feeling. Add to this the day light that decreases at the end of the day and it will create an atmosphere like in post apocalyptical movies, typically Blade Runner ! That is because the buidlings in Istanbul city centre are high, close to each other and their facades are sometimes destroyed. Add to this all the people walking in the streets, all the life evolving aside. The result is clear, they got inspired in Istanbul to create the decor of Blade Runner.
Have a stop to the Pierre Loti coffee ! There is a very nice terrasse located at the top of a hill. And from this place you can see all the surrounding roofs, the immensity of the Istanbul city and especially to the Golden Horn.
In the hotel where we were, there was a picture of a girl sitting on a roof full of domes, looking at Istanbul. I felt amazed by the place and I decided to try to find the place. Googling “Istanbul rooftop domes” and after searching for a while we found some blog posts speaking about Büyük Valide Han. It was once known from urbex people. So we went out to search for the place. Once you have the name it is not difficult to get to the place. However the thing that you probably do not know. Is that it is now closed. Usually you could give a few money to the “man with the keys”, but unfortunately the roof is now closed for renovation. However it is still worth to visit the place. Enter the place, go on the first floor and walk in this dark workshops. Worth to try !
After 5 days, we left Istanbul for the country side of Turkey. We travelled down to the west side first for visiting the old greek city in Selçuk. Actually during the ancient times the greek and roman empires had a very important influence in Turkey. The country is full of history, because there were a lot of commercial cities at this time. It is actually a real treasure, because you understand easily that it was a place with a very huge mixity of cultures and religions.
Our last step in Turkey was to travel to Cappadocia. This place in the middle of the country is a fantastic area. You probably already saw many pictures on Instagram of people with a lot of hot air balloons in the air ? That is the place. It is also known for its troglodyte houses. It is definitely a place to visit. Rent a room in one of the hotels in Göreme ! Sleeping inside rocks , this is a magical moment !
If you want to see Cappadocia from the sky, I highly recommend you to book a flight in hot air balloon. This is the most famous activity in the area. But you have to wake up really early in the morning. Don’t worry, the companies there offer you the breakfast ! We chose the Turquaz balloon travel company, they are very professional and very kind !