Saturday, September 5, 2015

Save the best for last. Istanbul.

My memories of Istanbul is very specific and distinct. You can tell that from all the places that I have been, Turkey is the most interesting of them all. You find a different culture, cuisine, people in a city where irony and contradiction is just in front of you. From old town to modern posh hotels. Church and mosque coincide peacefully. Richness of its culture from the various spices, cuisine that it has to offer. From Europe to Asia.

Two days that I was there I try to get the best out of Istanbul as much as I can. I would have stayed longer and I would have spent more money here. But that's the problem when you save the best for last. I mean you have limited time and money to see and experience everything. But I did not fail myself. I went to most places and I can go in two days. I've seen Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi, Grand Bazaar, Taksim, Karakoy, Galatica Bridge/Tower, Kadikoy, Optimum Outlet in Asian side. I wasn't able to eat much this time around and it would have been better if I did experience the best of Turkish Cuisine including the interesting elastic ice cream I've been hearing. But there's definitely a next time. I would come back to Turkey.

Last night in Istanbul I went to a historic hammam to experience it. I felt like the scrub took away all the toxins buildup from the rest of my european trip and replaced it fresh fragrance of the soap that I was soaked in.

I did enjoy the hotel I booked. Million Stone's hospitality is unparalleled. Vault Karakoy is too commercial and lacks honest warm hospitality of the former but their fa├žade is something they can boast to its guest. The only SLH where I didn't get the special treatment. But still its not too bad I like its hollow interior.

Contrary to Smart Traveller's advice of the high degree of caution due to danger. I did not feel any threat of danger at any point and perhaps this is one of the safest city I went to that I can think of. To be fair, I did walk past 12 at night on dark street but people are friendly and nice. Which makes Istanbul my second city after Paris that has special place in my travel vault.

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