Turkey | Istanbul


istanbul, turkey, hagia sofiaView of the Hagia Sophia.Every time I travel somewhere new, I always want to return for another vacation and/or live there. So far, of all the trips Kail and I have taken since he joined the Foreign Service five years ago, we’ve only repeated a couple trips: Copán, Honduras (primero viaje y el segundo); Antigua, Guatemala (once by ourselves, once with my sister and once with friends who were visiting); and of course overnight in-country trips like Barra de Santiago and the Dead Sea.istanbul, turkey, hagia sofiaInside the Hagia Sophia.istanbul, turkey, blue mosqueBlue Mosque.istanbul, turkey, blue mosqueInside the Blue Mosque.We had a great time visiting Istanbul several weeks ago. Lucky for me, we are going back later this summer. There is so much to see and do — it’s impossible in a single trip.turkey, istanbul, basilica cisternBasilica Cistern.It was a short trip — just four days. And while we saw all of the major highlights, we left a lot on the table for next time.turkey, istanbul, bosphorus cruiseView from a Bosphorus cruise.What did we do? We visited the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Palace and Istanbul Archaeology Museum. We took a cruise on the Bosphorus.istanbul, turkey, topkapi palaceInside Topkapi Palace.We experienced Turkish baths for the first time. We shopped at the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar and Arasta Bazaar. We drank Turkish wine and ate delicious Turkish food. We walked. And walked. And walked.turkey, istanbul, sultanhamet, hotel ibrahim pashaHotel terrace.We stayed at a wonderful boutique hotel recommended by some friends: Hotel Ibrahim Pasha, located in Sultanahmet right by the Blue Mosque. The hotel has a rooftop terrace with beautiful views of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.istanbul, turkey, blue mosque, hagia sofiaView of the Blue Mosque from our hotel terrace.istanbul, turkey, blue mosque, hagia sofiaBlue Mosque by night.We bought so much. We went to Istanbul planning to shop (our friends we visited in Athens for Thanksgiving packed an extra suitcase just for shopping when they went to Istanbul) but we ended up buying more and different things than I anticipated.istanbul, turkey, grand bazaar, carpetsCarpets, for one. Three carpets, to be exact. (After living in Kabul for a year, where I thought I scratched my carpet itch.) If you’re in the Grand Bazaar looking for carpets, I highly recommend Adnan & Hasan. (They pack the carpets so tightly, they fit into a carry-on-sized bag.)istanbul, turkey, grand bazaar, tilesI want all the things.We also bought a tea set, vase and some other ceramics. And some Turkish towels. And some barbecue skewers. And lots of Turkish delight. And … the list goes on. I’m embarrassed.istanbul, turkey, hagia sofiaHagia Sophia.What didn’t we do? Leave Istanbul — or Sultanahmet, for that matter. There’s plenty more to see in Istanbul itself and some day trips or quick overnight trips to various sites around Turkey.turkey, istanbul, bosphorus cruiseWe’re looking forward to our upcoming trip and seeing more of what Turkey has to offer. And possibly buying more carpets.Have you ever been to Istanbul?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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