Istanbul: Our First Impressions



This morning we arrived in Istanbul, after two long flights from Sydney.

And I have to admit it wasn’t what I expected.

Leaving the airport, it was almost suburban. Green grass, lot’s of tree’s and flowers, parks and open space.

But as we kept getting further into the centre,View from Galata Tower, Istanbul it became more of what I expected. We are staying in Taksim, right near Taksim square. At the moment, I am writing this article, on our balcony, looking out over all the crammed in buildings and tiny streets. Ahhh, this is Istanbul.

So what do we think of Istanbul?

I love it. So far, we haven’t even been into Sultanhmet, mainly Taksim. We have been down Istiklal Street, been up Galata Tower, tasted some street food, discovered streets and restaurants we didn’t expect to be there, seen lot’s of stray cats. There definitely seems to be lots of things to do and see in Istanbul.

Istiklal Street

Istiklal Street was a bit more quiet in the morning, and got progressively busier as the day went by. The street is brimming with shops of all kinds, old and new. Zara next door to an old market stall selling trinkets of times past. Fancy cafes next to the street stalls selling simit, roasted chestnuts and charcoaled corn.

Take a side street and end up in the fish markets, go the other side and find narrow streets lined with bars. We walked and walked and ended up at Galata Tower, which had a 360 degree view of Istanbul and quaint streets surrounding it.

Taksim Square

Taksim Square

It’s amazing how beautiful a slab of concrete can look. A large concreted area filled with birds, food stalls and people. Taksim Sqaure is full of life yet peaceful (well, at least today, as it is the location of previous riots). We are staying in an apartment a few streets back from Taksim Square. We walked through all the back streets, found little food shops selling turkish tea and pastries, mosques and locals going about their normal routine. Even though the buildings are crumbling around us, they stand strong with history, character and clotheslines. There are construction workers fixing up the old buildings, and old ladies propping them up with clotheslines from window to wall. I have no idea how they get the clothes out there or how they get them back. I will keep an eye on them over the coming days.

Istanbul Steets

The Food

You don’t have to love kebabs to love the food of Istanbul… but if you do love kebabs, you will be in food heaven! You will never be too far away from a kebab. On our first night we had a meat feast…

We have tried the turkish coffee, have to admit, not a huge fan. Having said that, I don’t drink coffee usually, but I love Vietnamese Coffee. The turkish tea on the other hand, I could have again and again.

Also had some Backlava. Well, Chris had some Baklava. I’m allergic to honey, so didn’t have any. Since found out that Baklava shouldn’t have honey… missed opportunity.

Tried the simit, will be coming back here for snacks.

How could we come to Turkey and not try the Turkish Delight? But seriously, it’s everywhere. I hate turkish delight in Australia, but here in Turkey, it’s not bad. I actually like it. And there are so many varieties, you are sure to find one you like.

Turkish Delight

Istanbul – What’s To Come

So far, so good. So excited to explore Istanbul in the coming days. Have lot’s to see and do. Might go on a Bosphorus cruise, go into the old city and go across to the Asian Side of Istanbul.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Istanbul?

Let us know in the comments below…

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