Istanbul, Turkey

My love for kabobs, baklavas, walking through hilly streets, and being able to learn to embrace the sights and sounds that this unique city had to offer all began on our 3 night stay in Istanbul in June 2013.

We arrived the day after our wedding and had arranged a car to come pick us up from the airport and take us to the W-Istanbul where we stayed. There were a lot of protests happening during the time we visited, but thankfully our hotel was very protective of us and wouldn’t let us out of the hotel as it was getting a little dark out but we were completely okay with this since we had just traveled after our wedding in Toronto. This allowed us to eat at the W hotel restaurant and was able to eat the best, and I repeat the best, Lamb Kabob I’ve ever had. The meat was just so juicy and tender and does not compare anything I’ve had. This modern hotel in such an ideal location was just perfect, and would highly recommend it.

The next morning, we were refreshed and had an amazing breakfast at the hotel and took the tram (the best way to get around Istanbul) to the historical area where all the attractions were. From there, we basically walked A LOT! We visited the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, which is one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world. We were really able to get a taste of life in Istanbul by visiting this, and was lucky enough to eat deliciously baked fresh baklavas and drink Turkish tea.

We then took a tour on the Bosphorus Sea (the sea that splits Turkey between Asia and Europe). We were able to see breathtaking views of some of the most historical monuments on both sides of the waterway. The next morning, we headed out in our tram again and had lunch by the Bosphorus Sea. There are a variety of great seafood restaurants!

Our next visit was to the Blue Mosque which is one of the most famous landmarks in Istanbul. This beautiful and peaceful building was amazing both on the inside and outside. Makes a beautiful backdrop for pictures too.

We then proceeded with our walking tour to the famous Hagia Sofia, which also means “holy wisdom”; this beautiful mosque was one of our favorites to visit and the great dome ceiling is something I will never forget.

We then stopped at the Topkaki Palace Museum through our self guided walking tour before grabbing some street kabobs and calling it a night.

The next day we just walked around the trendy shops.

Fun fact – I still have the sunglasses that I purchased in Istanbul and wear it often and still love them and always think of the unique city and culture that I was able to experience.

Tips and Tricks in Istanbul

  • Take the tram to get to historical sites.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved. 
  • Wear clothes that cover your body or at least have a sweater or scarf handy
  • Don’t forget to bring your bargaining skills when shopping in the Bazaar 
  • Don’t hesitate from trying the Street Food.