Istanbul, Not Constantinople

During lunch today with a childhood friend who shares my passion for travel, the topic of vacationing in Turkey came up. While I hadn’t been to much of the country that counts itself as both European and Asian, I did experience a wonderful springtime weekend in Istanbul. From the famed sights to the gorgeous tulips, spending a weekend there was a wonderful introduction to the history, architecture, and culture of a riveting city.

I started with a visit to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. My favorite of these was certainly Aya Sofia—when I walked in under the gorgeous dome of this former Christian church and Muslim mosque (now a museum)—I was blissfully overwhelmed. Later that evening, I treated myself to a traditional Turkish bath…let’s just say that I was scrubbed within an inch of my life! As a modest American, this experience was not for me.

The next day, I walked around the bustling Taksim Square before joining Eser, my incredible local guide, to visit Topkapi Palace, the Basilica Cistern, and the Spice Market. The food on my trip was lovely–think Mediterranean and delish. Even while traveling alone in this city that spans two continents, I felt mostly safe in my surroundings and one of the stamps in my passport that I was most thrilled to get…definitely crossed visiting Istanbul off of my bucket list!

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