A long weekend in Istanbul

January 18, 2015

Early in November we decided to spend a long weekend in Istanbul to escape cold and windy Hamburg for a few days. We share a long-standing attraction to Istanbul with its bustling atmosphere, beautiful scenery and rich history and our expectations have not been disappointed during our 5 days in the city. Unfortunately we both caught a cold shortly before we left Germany and had terrible earache during the flight. Lots of sleep and popping pills like candy helped us to stay on our feet and we managed to get on top of our game again before we had to fly back.

turkish sweets

Our first venture upon arrival in the evening led us to one of the oldest candy stores in Istanbul where we treated ourselves with all sorts of Baklava.

istanbulpide and turkish coffee

Turkish coffee at a traditional pide restaurant.

café in istanbul

One thing that I particularely enjoyed was the food: We visited cafés, restaurants and little kebap- or pide-shops and the food never disappointed me. The kitchen often consists of simple dishes with lamb or beef and vegetables. Especially grilled dishes were a blast and supplementary tea and coffee was a welcome addition at most places.

the new mosque in istanbul

One of the highlights in Istanbul are the colorful and chaotic bazaars that invite to dive in and soak in the smells and the atmosphere. After a trip to the spice bazaar, we visited the grand bazaar that is so big, that we didn’t even try not to get lost and instead looked for an exit after a few hours of strolling around and buying gifts for the families.

spice bazaarspice bazaarverndor on the spice bazaarlamps at the grand bazaaristanbul covered in fog

The Bosphorus and Galata Bridge covered in fog.

cistern in istanbul

Hidden under the touristic streets of Sultanahmed lies the byzantinean Basilica Cistern. Walking between its countless columns and details like little fishes attracted by light and carved-in medusa-heads give the impression of  a mysterious underwold.

corn push stand

Little street booths, selling corn and chestnuts are contributing to the cityscape.

istanbulgalata bridge istanbulangler

One of my favourite places in Istanbul is the Galata Bridge that connects the Bosphorus with the Golden Horn. The bridge is a famous spot for anglers and offers views on the Galata Tower on one side and the New Mosque on the other side. Under the bridge lies another level with shops and fish restaurants. The crowded bridge and the neon lights reminded me of a retro version of Blade Runner.

bankistanbul

During the last two days the weather improved and we took a boat trip along the Golden Horn to visit an old mosque off the beaten path.
A great tip is to ignore all the sellers that advertise expensive trips on tourist ships and take the public boat lines instead. Public transportation is super cheap and the experience is even better on less crowded boats that leave more frequently.

taking pictures of the blue mosque

Paying a last visit to the Blue Mosque before we had to fly home.

blue mosque