Travel

Istanbul : Cultural paradise

Hy guys, I am just going to write to you a bit about my stay in Istanbul , if you are more interested in short tips just scroll to the bottom of the post… hope you like it 😀

My city break started by checking in to a hotel really early in the morning. I was pondering if I should go to sleep or just stay awake. I stayed awake because I was so excited to be in Istanbul. The ottoman culture is close to me, as far in history we were influenced by them so a lot of food and culture is very similar to Zagreb where I was born. The hotel I stayed in wasn’t anything special and it was a short stay so it didn’t really matter.

I had an interesting view from my hotel room, it was shabby and colorful. In the distance I could hear a mass, and the priest singing. There were actually a few of them at the same time. I went over to breakfast because it was just on the roof of the hotel , so I enjoyed the sunrise and the beautiful view of Istanbul.

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I was too excited to eat , so I finally went out to explore the streets. I only had three days and there were many things I wanted to see. The streets are narrow and curvy and the drivers are crazy.  Crossing the street is not an easy job. The pavement for the pedestrians is really torn up and I had to be careful walking on it because you can’t see what car is coming behind the curve.

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However the buildings had a certain charm, and the smells coming out of the bakeries were just mouthwatering.  We walked down to Sultan Ahmet. The glorious palace and it is truly amazing. We sat down in a small turkish caffe where we ordered some coffee and had some cuddles with the local stray cats. There is a lot of Cats in Istanbul and a lot of people are actually taking care of them. Every bar and every restaurant has a set of their own stray cats. Those little furry beasts are smart as well. They don’t go to other bars and restaurants, nope! They hang with their own.  Actually it is so nice to see the local people embracing their little furry friends.

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The Gardens are magnificent. Even though I wasn’t there for the full bloom of the flowers, there were some interesting installations which kind of give you an idea of what it would look like when they do. There were small springs and fountains and ponds which reminded me of ”Aladin”.

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I must say Istanbul was quite impressive for me. They are rich in culture and good in service, and the food is fantastic. The little joints on corners serve delicious ottoman specialties for a very small price.

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Of course there were Other fun things I did, like visiting the new part of Istanbul, some rooftop restaurants and the amazing Grand Bazaar which is just a shopping fantasy. I was really curious how they don’t go to jail for selling so many copies of luxurious brands, and not cheap! If you want a fake Chanel you have to cash out $800. If you are stupid of course. Bargaining is an art in Turkey, as a matter a fact, they are happy to rip you off if you don’t. Who comes to Turkey to not negotiate. Everything is negotiable and that my friends, is a fact of life.

 

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I love Istanbul! To this day it is one of my favorite trips and I’m hoping to see it again but in a different side.  Next time I go to Istanbul I want to eat more food and see more luxurious places that shine with tradition. If you know some cool hotels and restaurants leave me a suggestion in the comment box, I can’t wait to go there again!

 

TIPS WHEN TRAVELING TO ISTANBUL

  • Eat street food it is cheap and awesome
  • Try and barter for stuff in grandbazaar
  • Get lost, don’t use gps, Istanbul is so much fun when you don’t know where you are going
  • Try the big bus Istanbul, we had a great time on it
  • Don’t worry about the hotel, you won’t be spending all your time there anyway
  • Talk to the locals, they are so much fun!
  • Pet the stray cats, they are cleaner than you, and they love to cuddle
  • Visit all the landmarks , you won’t regret it!
  • New Istanbul is great if you like the urban parts

Don’t

  • Go over the bridge, it is really not worth it and the traffic is horrific
  • On the Asian side of Istanbul, everything is double the price
  • Don’t be rude to people, they will never be rude to you
  • Don’t go there for luxury, go for raw cultural experience

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