Istanbul: Day 1

Travel

Istanbul Day 1:

 After what seemed to be an unusually quick flight, we arrived to Istanbul Ataturk Airport and were greeted by bustling crowds and our transfer service to the hotel. The first moments in a new country are the most critical; you get a quick read of your reactions and how you feel in your new environment. Both Petar and I were pleasantly surprised by Istanbul- exceptionally clean, well-manicured lawns and flowers everywhere you look. Every road, corner and structure seemed to be paved for its citizens with natural beauty.

 

Nomad luxuries image of busy airport during Istanbul travels{ The bustling airport }

The ancient city of Istanbul is situated high above sea level, flaunting its days as the Ottoman Empire. The van took us up narrow, winding streets, adorned with flowers, and for a few moments we felt as though we were in Italy or France. The call for prayer at 5:00 pm quickly reminded us of our location as we arrived to our hotel: Burckin Suites. A small, boutique hotel I spent hours hunting for on the internet, turned out to be the perfect choice for our five-day stay. The hotel was intimate with sleek decor and touches of Islamic influence, and most importantly, it was clean with all modern amenities. Conveniently situated in the heart of the Ancient city, Burckin Suites offered a sweeping  view of the Agia Sofya and the Sea of Marmara.

Nomad luxuries image of ornate doorway to Istanbul hotel{ The ornate doorway and first glimpse at our hotel }

Nomad Luxuries picture capturing both Yana and scenery of Istanbul{ The view of the Sea of Marmara }

                We cancelled our initial reservation to catch up on rest and unpacking. We wanted to walk around; take our time to introduce ourselves to this new city and hopefully get lost in the crowd. And that we did. We stumbled upon a local restaurant, Adamar Hotel Sultanahmet restaurant and bar, for a quick bite to eat and a panoramic view of the city. On the menu that evening was- a mushroom, chicken, kayseri cheese and cream crepe. We sat for a while, admiring the view, and were surprised to find that Istanbul nights were quite chilly. Fortunately, the restaurant carries red pashminas for those that can’t brave the breeze- yours truly.

Nomad Luxuries image captured on a roof top{ Enjoying the view from the hotel rooftop }

Nomad Luxuries wide view image of Agia Sofya{ The view of the Agia Sofya from the hotel }

               Walking off our dinner, we continued to explore the city on foot, dodging stray cats left and right, and enjoyed an ice cream on a park bench between The Agia Sofya and The Blue Mosque. No big deal. On our way back to the hotel we stumbled into our first rug dealer, which would be one of many. Turkish hospitality calls for tea with two sugar cubes, followed by hand gestures, broken English and lots of smiling. We walked away without a purchase that evening but happy to be in such a magical and chaotic city.

– Y

Nomad Luxuries tourist image capturing the Blue Mosque{ The Blue Mosque }

Nomad Luxuries image capturing tourists walking along the Hippodrome{ Turks walking along the Hippodrome }

Nomad Luxuries black and white image of the Agia Sofya church.{ Daily life in front of the Agia Sofya }