Istanbul: A Stroll Through Time

“The constant beating of the wave of the east against the rocks of the west” — Susan Moody

Against a sky full of minarets, and hundreds of seagulls, stands the city of Istanbul. A city which unites Asia and Europe. A city with its unique architecture, culture, and poetry. A city with such intense history that a lifetime might fall short knowing it all.

European Side

We started our vacation with European side of the city. With its cobbled streets filled with tourists and locals alike, you find yourself in a modern Istanbul.

The imposing Galata tower stands tall, offering one of the best sunset you have ever seen. Though you really have to brave the crowded corridor of the Tower.

Sunset from Galata Tower

Right next to Galata tower, you find the famous hub of night life, Taksim Square and Istiklal street, which is the shopping hub. As I walked down of Istiklal street, I was strongly reminded of Harajuku street of Tokyo, yes it is THAT crowded!

A small red tram running through the Istiklal street, the nostalgic tram, brings an old charm to the modern city.

Istanbul has hundreds of rooftop places with incredible view of the Bosphorus. For every meal, we made sure to find a fantastic place or rather a place with fantastic view :)

Galata bridge has to be one the weirdest bridge I have ever crossed. Hundreds of men struggling to find a place to fish day or night. The vegetarian in me made me run a little to avoid the smell of the fish, so no pics of that :P

As I crossed the Galata bridge, I found myself in a different era. I left behind Istanbul and was transported to Constantinople.

Hagia Sophia

After reading so many books and watching so many movies based on Hagia Sophia, must say it surpassed my expectation :)

Sit on one of the benches in Sultanahmet Square and enjoy the beautiful view of Hagia Sophia while eating roasted chestnuts. Marvel at the history of the monument which was once a Greek orthodox church, then a mosque, and now a museum.

Also, yeah, Blue mosque is not really blue :P

View of the Blue Mosque from one of the windows of Hagia Sophia

Asian Side

Away from the crowds, we took a ferry to spend a day in the Asia side of Istanbul and boy! that was my favourite day of my whole stay in the city.

Things to do in the Asian side of Istanbul:

Spend the afternoon wandering through the streets of Kadikoy

Check out the cool graffiti in Moda

Enjoy authentic Turkish food at Ciya Sofrasi (yes, they had plenty of veg options!)

Go to Çamlıca Tepesi for a spectacular view of the Bosphorus and the city

Chill out at the sea-front and watch the laid-back lifestyle of the locals

Sip çay (turkish tea) as the sun shines for the last time for the day

Watch one of the most breathtaking sunsets of your life

Maiden’s Tower

After the sun sets, head back to Kadikoy and watch it transform to the bar street in night. Explore the hidden pubs :)

No blog about Istanbul is complete without mentioning the cats of Istanbul, so here it goes!

Cats of Istanbul

We also visited Cappadocia, Pamukkale and Antalya. Here’s few pics from rest of our Turkey visit.

Sunrise hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia
Preparing for the ride
Weird rock structure of Cappadocia
Pamukkale travertine terraces
Swim with a surreal backdrop in Antalya
For the love of the sea!