My yearly trip with my childhood friend Patrick ended up in Istanbul. Little planning always leads to the best actions as we couldn’t decide if we wanted to go to Italy, Scandinavia, London or Paris. We decided to go to the city of 3000 mosques, a Metropolis with 17 million people. A city that breaths energy and splits two continents with the aid of the Bosporus. This city makes you realise how tiny we are.
Growing up in Holland I thought I knew the Turks but I clearly didn’t. What a sympathetic and forgiving people. Learning some Turkish definitely helps to open up and connect to the people. No grandma, it’s not a tattoo;) It’s just to make friends. PS: she called me to make sure as I sometimes do spontaneous things.
An impressive combination of Christian and Islamic religion created the Ayasofya, a great architectural masterpiece. Every new floor and corner makes you wonder how they build it. While exiting the Ayasofya the call to Prayer from the Blue Mosque just started and filled the whole square with sound and people. 25 degrees Celsius and sun is perfect for a day of strolling around from water vendor to water vendor. WHAT?! Water bottles for only 1 lira/ 30 EUR cents. Ok I have to admit sometimes we bought orange juice or pomegranate juice as it was so colourful and tempting. At 13pm it was getting a little hot and we were getting burned alive. Luckily Istanbul has an underground basilisk with the heads of Medusa. If you are not getting burned alive I would skip this item from the to do list and stay above ground.
Highlight of the Second day. The cheap Bosporus ferry. Also the best place to actually meet up with locals and ask them about their city. Next on the agenda, the Bazaar, been there done that, but never again. Not my cup of tea. But definitely time for a kebab and mint tea. If you go to Istanbul, make sure you go to Besiktas and Ortaköy square, this is a great place to drink a beer and enjoy a Shisha at the waterfront. This is also the area where most students enjoy their time in-between classes. We both asked ourselves if it was possible to study here 😉
Day 3, and the last Cultural day. Living by night took its toll and that means sleeping by day. Suleymaniye is impressive and the view over the Bosporus is branded on the back of my eyes. During my visit I was more impressed by the views of the 7 hills and the Bosporus than the inside of the Mosques, but I think that is my personal preference. The evening was date night with some Turkish girls that wanted to show us around on the Asian side so we had an evening filled with experience the culture and eating Turkish delight.
What to do on a Sunday if you like football and Wesley Sneijder is playing? Yes, we tried to get in to the stadium after we made it to the suburb but we needed a special season card or to pay a premium to sketchy salesmen. Too bad that we couldn’t go and watch the match. We were on our way to Besiktas again, our favourite spot. We watched the shitty match on the TV and were blessed not to spend any money as the stadium was only 25% full and the football was worse than my nephews Sunday league games.
The last day we ended up waking up too late due to again a good night out. We planned to go the Prince islands in the east on our way back to the airport but due to poor planning and a horrible ferry schedule we didn’t. We ate our last kebab and afterwards transcended to the airport to fall asleep in Turkey and wake up back in Amsterdam.