Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
In the spring of 2018, I decided to do a two-week trip to Europe. My sister was living in UK at the time, and she was about to move back to Canada. She wanted to do a bit of a trip before she headed back. So, we planned a pretty fast paced two-week trip. I met her in London, and we started on our way instantly. First, we went to Athens for 4 nights, then we flew to Istanbul for 3 nights then we went to Munich for 3 nights then back to London for a couple of nights before we flew back to Canada. I am going to tell a bit of our time in Istanbul.
Arriving in Istanbul was an interesting experience at first as this was my first time visiting a middle eastern country. It has a cool vibe since it still feels like Europe but with a bit of a spin on it with middle eastern traditions. The West side of the water is Europe, and the East side is Asia. The old town or the European side is the main tourist spot, and it is quite busy with merchants and tourists alike.
Our hostel was on the Asian side and it was in a nice quiet location. It had a café outside on the bottom and it was an enjoyable location. I wasn’t as used to traveling as much at the time, so I didn’t want to do too many touristy things, but I did a walking tour and visited the Blue Mosque. My sister went to the Hagia Sophia and said it was really cool. Next time I am in Istanbul I will definitely visit the Hagia Sophia, and I would like to visit Istanbul again in the future.
One interesting part was there were they daily call to prayer in the streets and that was a cool experience. It was surprising at first, I didn’t know what it was then I realized it and would stop, take a listen, and appreciate it. I really enjoyed hearing that during the day, definitely something new for me.
Sometimes on the Europe side which is more touristy the people were always trying to sell you something which can be annoying. On the Asian side it has more locals so there weren’t any people trying to push their store or product on you which is nice.
I highly recommend visiting Istanbul, I personally liked staying on the Asian side for a more quiet and local experience, then can just go to the Europe side when you want to visit the main tourist attractions. The hostel we stayed in is called the Juliet Rooms and Kitchen. If you stay on the Asian side, you can take the ferry across the water to get to the other side. It’s easy to get back and forth and it’s nice if you want just a quick snack or drink as there are lots of amenities on the Asian side that will be less hectic.
I wish you a good visit to Istanbul!