Wow, just wow.
I have discovered a new amazing place on this planet. I’ve been wanting to visit Istanbul for a while, I did now, and it was enchanting.

My Turkish week-end felt like a walk through the pages of History. So much beauty and charm all in one place. A striking mix of serenity and liveliness. Big and impressive mosques, small and cute shops.

Suleman Mosque

One of my favorite stops was the Spice Bazaar, obviously filled with myriads of different spices, but also tea, sweets, nuts and dry fruits of all kinds. Getting lost in the bazaar’s maze of alleys is absolutely captivating. The smell, the colours, the background sound of all the people walking and talking…

Just next to the Spice Bazaar is the New Mosque. I have to say, entering the various mosques left a certain mark on me. I’m far from being the religious type, and it wasn’t the first time I entered a mosque. Yet, for some unknown reason, it felt like a sacred ritual for me too. I guess it was the pure beauty of the place, or the sense of experiencing something so different from my culture, or I don’t even know what else it was. Thing is, I was mesmerized.

The New Mosque

The Topkapi Palace, which was the residence of Ottoman sultans for more than 400 years, is another must-see.

High above the city, with panoramic views across the Bosphorus Strait, the palace is a fine example of Turkish architecture. It has so many features to discover, from secluded courtyards, to the many palace gates and different rooms.
Walking out from the Palace, the path took us to one of the most breathtaking and iconic monuments of Istanbul: the Blue Mosque.
The six minarets and interior blue tiles constitute the famous signature of the mosque, officially known as Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Every time the call to prayer was being recited by the muezzin from the Blue Mosque, it gave me chills. I believe there’s something hypnotizing about it, and it would make me stop doing whatever I was doing just to focus and listen to that voice.
The area boasts hundreds of “rooftop restaurants”, offering  the possibility to have dinner with that stunning view. I literally couldn’t stop staring at it. The Sultanahmet neighborhood has also plenty of cosy bars where you can sip a glass of tea and smoke the narguile while listening to some relaxing Turkish music.

From our terrace, on the one side we could see the Blue Mosque, and on the other, the Hagia Sophia. Needless to say, this was the most romantic dinner I’ve ever had.

On the second day, we decided we would catch the tram and go up until Taksim Square. From that spot, the Istiklal Caddesi, perfect for high street shopping, spreads down to the Galata Tower.

To say the least, Istanbul has been a wonderful surprise to me with its incredible architecture, culture and lifestyle. I can’t wait to go back and see more of it (also, those delicious baklavas!).