Those who know me and are following me on Instagram have had a glance into my holiday snaps a few weeks ago. I had a blissful break away from the city and escaped to 2 very different, but gorgeous cities: Geneva and Istanbul. While my first stop in Geneva was family-time-kinda-time, I chose Istanbul as my destination for my solo venture this year. The excitement of unknown territories.
Until I met a Geneva-based Londoner on the plane who kindly shared tips about the city (where to go and, most importantly, where to eat!), I didn't have a plan on how I would spend my holidays, I just knew I was drawn to Istanbul and wanted to explore its treasures.
Istanbul, city of cats
My first impression of the city: seed of approval. The heavy atmosphere of the jammed roads, the golden crescents of the mosques peeking at every street corners, the numerous food shops offering the best-priced deals, the peaceful locals, and the coral sunsets. I felt a sense of relief. My hostess, Basma, also was the warmest woman and welcomed me with sweet Turkish tea, fresh fruits and a heap of affection. I almost felt home.
As I explored the city of many façades, I relish the solitude. I lusted after the delights that Istanbul offered me without an ounce of guilt. I navigated through the busy side roads of Taksim Square aimlessly; made my way through narrow cobbled alleyways, greeted by sweets merchants and hookah smokers; sailed to Asia on the Bosphorus; gorged on thickly sliced fish sandwiches layered on coats of cholesterol-induced condiments; indulged in the most exquisitely presented and deliciously famous Turkish delights; and soaked every single ray of sun I could. My soul smiling all along.
Beyond the tourist-imbibed areas, lies that urban-flavoured city that I was eager to unfold. The graffiti art shows up here and there, the trendy coffee shops/networking spots, and the hip young artists working on the cobbled streets with tea and sketch pads in hands. It was another side of Istanbul one cannot ignore!
Istanbul has my heart in many ways and I hope I cross her path again...