I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time now but for some reason I kept avoiding it. The truth is I didn’t know what to write. Should I write about how amazing and beautiful everything was or should I mention what really happened?
I went through some other people’s posts on Istanbul to see if anyone else had the same experience. Nothing! Everyone seemed to be happy and had a hell of a time. But then I thought most people will probably just write the good stuff. No one says that they have to confront begging children every morning while they get out of their 5 star hotel in India, the horrid humidity they have to tolerate in south east Asia or that it can be a total pain in the ass that locals don’t speak a word of English in Spain. Not that no one does, but let’s be honest, most of them don’t! But traveling is not all sunshine and roses. Not even if you’re going to Istanbul!
There’s a reason Istanbul is the 6th major tourist destination. Because it’s pretty damn good. An epic cradle of civilization, a water front city that spans in two continents, delicious food and lots to see. What else could anyone want?
But it’s not all that. Sometimes just one act of impoliteness from a local can ruin your whole adventure. It can happen to any of us. Let’s just say it happened to me more than once. It just happened that I didn’t stumble across the nicest people. From the waiter of a restaurant who found it offending that I asked him for the address of another restaurant, to the ticket seller who was too annoyed to answer more then one question or a receptionist of a decent hotel in the heart of Istanbul who could not speak an acceptable level of English. Let’s not forgot those who seem to forget the fact that if Istanbul is blooming more than ever, the tourists have a great part in it and they don’t just come there because there’s nowhere else to go.
Now was this an exception? Of course it was! Does this mean Turkish people are unfriendly or rude? Of course NOT! I’ve had too many amazing Turkish friends to associate a few creepy people with a whole nation. And never I will. But this is how it was and it’s totally fine. Istanbul is not so far away so I can always give it a second try.
Now to the bright side! To the side that makes me want to go back and start over. So I can gaze at the breathtaking ceiling of the Blue Mosque, treat my belly with a delicious Turkish Kebab and listen to the enchanting call of prayers between the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia.
Istanbul is extremely clean, a little more expensive than I expected and very green. I loved to see the well living picnic culture amongst the locals as parks were packed with families in the afternoons. Istanbul is where you’ll catch a glimpse of the heavenly mosque domes where ever you are, where you would walk the footsteps of royals in Dulmabahce palace, get dizzy taking in all that delightful smell at the Spice Bazaar and be in awe when you step inside the Hagia Sofia. Istanbul reminds me of home, of having tea in tulip shaped glasses, of indulging my sweet tooth with Baklava and failing at bargaining in the Grand Bazaar.
It’s a thriving city where it’s streets are paved with temptation. Istanbul is a blend of authenticity and heritage, of old and new, of tradition any modern. Istanbul is the reunion of Europe and Asia that have finally came to peace…