‘East meets West’ – the introduction of Istanbul begins with a cup of Turkish coffee. Incredible people, jaw dropping architecture. This was a life time unforgettable experience.
With a bag on my back and a crazy idea of travelling, I realize this is what I love doing the most. Life is full of surprises, I never even in my wildest dream imagined I will backpack Turkey one day. With Turkey pinned on my map and Istanbul as my first destination I have no idea where to begin, the city is amazing. They claim this is the city of magic and history. Right from the very start, I realize the Turkish people are incredibly friendly.
Upon my arrival at Istanbul Atatürk Airport, the feeling of freedom and happiness had no limits. A couple of Turkish people to my surprise asked me about Bollywood and Amitabh Bachchan and this came as a surprise to me. This is certainly a backpackers paradise. I see a lot of people backpacking and you realize the people you meet are walking the same path as you with a map in hand and the destinations pinned.
Turkey has its own art & music and its multicultural environment add great richness to the country. The first monument I set my eyes on when I arrived by tram was The Blue Mosque and it was beautiful. The metro drove right through Sultanahmet on the way, which is the heart of Istanbul and full of jaw-dropping.
Dropped my bags at Sultan hotel in the afternoon and headed straight to Sultanahmet. The city retains so much of its ancient beauty. The streets were filled with museums and architecture, keeping an open mind and an empty schedule is the best way to explore the city.
Blue Mosque: (Free Entry)
This was the first place I had my eyes on the very second I reached Istanbul, this is one of the favorite destination to visit if you are in Istanbul. Once we reach the door step we are kindly asked to remove our shoes and the women are asked to cover their heads, knees and shoulders if exposed and the interior of the mosque was beautiful and colorful. The carpets and the sculptured marbles were WOW. I guess no camera can just take the beautiful capture of the mosque, it was absolutely stunning. It was one of the beautiful Islamic architecture that I have seen. Its nice if you can spend some time alone inside and outside the mosque just taking it all in.
While the Blue Mosque is an active mosque, visitors are not allowed during prayer times. Men and women pray separately and its important to follow the local customs. Turkey is a relaxed country when compared to the rest of the middle east, but its important to dress modestly when entering holy places.
I spend the rest of the day at Sultanahmet square seeing the most two beautiful sites; The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. There is nothing to worry if you are a solo traveler. I spent the rest of the day loitering the city walking and just walking. When we meet and see people who travel, we realize everyone has a story to tell.
Back to hostel and I have 3 Efes. Day ends and I snore to glory.
P.S; the Blue Mosque looks beautiful at night.
Keep Travelling, Keep Learning