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Posted by on Apr 19, 2013 in Latest Posts, Middle East, Turkey | 10 comments

Incredible Istanbul


Saying goodbye to Israel and Jordan we boarded our Egypt Air flight to Istanbul. Arriving right around peak-hour and getting stuck in traffic and started to absorb the sudden difference in our location. We made our way to the Asian side of the city where we would spend 2 days before heading over to the Europe side, the side where most of the action is with the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar and so much more.



An interesting store


With our first two days near Taskim Square on the Asian side of the city we were confronted by poor weather. Still, we managed to take a few walks where we found some very tasty Turkish Delight and some other traditional deserts and a few glimpses of the other side of Istanbul.


Park in Taksim Square

Park in Taksim Square


The main street on this side of the city is so busy we were told it gets up to 5 million people walking through the many high end shops, bars and restaurants. We can vouch for that too because every time we were there, day or night the street was packed.



A glimpse of the European side of Istanbul


On one of our nights there I ventured out on my own as Jen was a little under the weather and managed to get lost for a while after going and having a beer and a shisha. Eventually I found my way back onto the busy street and back to our hostel but it was great fun as I managed to find lots of tucked away places on the winding streets where the locals hang out and eat. While our stay on this side of the city was good we soon realised we needed to be on the other side of Istanbul to experience the real wonders of the city and with the flowers in bloom we hoped for some sunny days.




Interesting buildings in the backstreets


Once we made it to the other side and to our hostel, Cordial House Hostel the weather improved and we had an amazing couple of days. Dumping our bags and heading into the maze of stalls under the Grand Bazaar we found all sorts of characters selling rugs, trinkets, clothes and scarves, all the while sipping on Turkish Tea. The Turks always seem to have a cup of tea nearby. While the Grand Bazaar certainly is just that, GRAND! we were a little disappointed at the quality of goods for sale, much of it was the same and looked like cheap souvenirs from China. However this did not dampen the spirit of the place which is full of life and an overload to the senses. Smells, sounds and sights flood the bazaar, which is all we really wanted anyway and we spent a few hours meandering though the streets up and down hills getting lost in it all.


The Grand Bazaar

Entering the Grand Bazaar

Turkish Tea

Turkish Tea

The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar

Turkish tea and coffee sets


Stay tuned for the next episode in Istanbul where we will uncover the beauty of the Mosques and Topkapi Palace.




  1. Nice story, Ardun!

    Poor weather in Istanbul? I was there as a kid, can’t remember that much, but always think of Istanbul as very sunny 🙂

    Disappointed, but not suprised, to read that most stuff at the Grand Bazaar are made in China… sadly, that’s the case for almost all Italian products as well 🙁

    Enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂

    • Thanks Miret, Luckily for us the weather improved and the next post will show Istanbul maybe as you remember it 🙂 It is sad isn’t it that you can’t find hand made products anymore. Oh well it will keep my travel pack light.

  2. Beautiful!

    In all honestly, I’ve always dreamed of getting lost in the Grand Bazaar and just go through each alley and take it all in (and take lots of photos of course).

    Disappointed to read that the stuff is not really authentic but imported ;(

    It’s ok, I would rather spend $ on a fab meal cause I love Turkish food! It’s so beautiful & delicious too! Win-Win

    Can’t wait for next installment ha ha

    Kay 🙂

    • Yeah don’t get me wrong Kay the place is incredible!! Who needs touristy junk anyway. I’m with you on the food… And Turkish coffee of course!

  3. Any chance of posting a few more pics of the bazaar? It sounded fascinating and it is a part of the whole Mediterranean /Middle east scene that I fantasize about. Everyone says the pomegranates and figs are fabulous there.. have you had any? Great to eat your way around the world on all the exotic foods. Cheers Dar

    • Plenty more bazaar photos coming and some from the spice bazaar which was my favourite. There is pomegranate juice everywhere and it’s delicious! Xx

  4. So sorry for the weather but the rest is just awesome. The streets are so narrow and charming. It looks like a dynamic and vivid place 🙂 I bet your wife loves it 🙂

    • Great place Agness. And Jen loves it too 🙂

  5. We absolutely love Istanbul, it’s definitely one of our favourite cities! You got some great photos…enjoy the rest of your time there.


    • Thanks guys. Istanbul is such a great city I want to go back already 🙂

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