Istanbul in Two Days {Part One}

January 4th, Josh and I left for Istanbul, which was our layover city before arriving in Alicante.

Istanbul has always been at the top of my “must see” list, along with places like Norway, Brazil, and Italy. Upon landing in the Istanbul airport, I got so excited to see the incredible mix of cultures all in one place that really is quite the melting pot! The architecture, culture, and incredibly genuine people are just a few things that make Istanbul a one-of-a-kind place.

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From the moment that we put all of our things in the hotel and left to explore the city on the first night, I was obsessed. Istanbul ranks so high on my list of favorite places, I discovered even on the first night.

Since it was pretty late at night, we really only had time to grab a late dinner of kebabs and then found a great place for Turkish delights, where I ate waaaaay more than my fair share! Eating Turkish Delights was something that was on my Istanbul bucket list so this was perfect way to finish our first night.

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The next morning, we found a delicious bakery to have some pastries for breakfast and began exploring the city. We made our way to Sultanahmet Square, the heart of the Old City, filled with some incredible things that we were able to do for the rest of our day.

We decided to first visit the Blue Mosque, which went under construction starting in 1609. It really stands out in the Istanbul skyline because of the six minarets {towers that summon the calls to prayer and are echoed throughout the entire city} that the mosque features, as well as the 20,000 blue tiles that line the ceiling.

I was completely overwhelmed at the vast beauty of the mosque and how completely beautiful it was. It was quite an incredible experience to be there with Josh, stand back, and take it all in.

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After touring the Blue Mosque, we headed to the Aya Sophia, a former Byzantine church that was converted into a Ottoman mosque, and is now finally a museum. Like the Blue Mosque, it was just one of those moments standing inside where I just felt completely in awe of the beauty all around me.

Most of all, it was such a fun feeling to be able to explore such a different city, because knowing hardly anything about Istanbul almost made it all the more exciting, because I had no idea to expect at every turn.

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After the Aya Sophia, we explored the Grand Bazaar, a partially open-air market and indoor market where all kinds of vendors sell goods to locals and tourists alike. It was so much of a sensory overload, as we took in bright sights everywhere, a new language being spoken everywhere we went, and the smells of new foods and spices floating through the air.

I can’t tell you how much fun this day was, especially for me, someone who eats up beautiful architecture and rich history.

After finishing this, we had the incredible opportunity to visit a rug store where I actually was able to learn the Turkish style of making rugs, and was able to put several knots into a rug that, once completed, the store will sell one day! It was so fascinating to see the long, arduous, yet beautiful process of making a rug, and it opened my eyes so much to why rugs are worth the prices that they are. Some of these rugs take years to complete, even while the artisans spend long days working on them. This experience was accompanied by Turkish tea (as most of our experiences this trip were usually accompanied with). I could almost replace my coffee addiction with Turkish apple tea, I love it so much!

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The second day in Istanbul held even more adventures that I can’t wait to share with you! Stay tuned to check out my Part Two post coming to the blog soon!

Much love,

Olivia

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