This post may be a few years late. But its best to start at the beginning, I say! My first travel was a short stint in August 2010 to Turkey. I was going to be in Istanbul for 5 days, a country where English is spoken less than minimal, and a culture that I was then oblivious of. Istanbul turned out to be the most beautiful places that I ever visit, also adventurous in its own way! No one understood me, taxi drivers were rash and short tempered, and the food was ravishingly delicious!
The airport in Istanbul in 2010 was a maze. No signs in English, and no one spoke any either. We were herded to immigration in one side, and just shoved along. Thankfully I had someone to pick me up. But I had no idea where he was, or what he said. An important thing in countries like this was to have a phone. I handed over the phone so two people communicating in the same language could sort themselves out, and tada! I was on my way to my hotel.
The Bosphorous Sea bifurcates Istanbul into two parts, one in Europe and the other is Asia. I was staying in the Asian side, it is inexpensive comparatively. My abode for the next few days was GRAND EYUBOGLU 3*, in Umraniye. My first time in a hotel room where I could barely walk around. But definitely not my last. Umraniye is a pretty upbeat neighborhood in Turkey, with lots of restaurants and shops around. Getting around in cabs is easy, and expensive. But most people do not converse in English, so good luck explaining where you want to go. Better take assistance of hotel security or concierge. By the way, I could see a very pretty mosque from my room.
I had a lovely bunch of people to work with. And Turkish know their food, and their tourism! So I was taken to fantastic places for lunch everyday, and being a carnivore sure helped! It was the Ramadan time, but most people that I met were not fasting. The last couple of days, a guy from work, and now a dear friend, Rasit took upon himself to show me around Istanbul. Wow. The reason that I look upon Turkey as my most memorable trip, is because it really was. And with a local, you can see the best and not spend the most! Ferry ride around the Bosphorous Sea, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Sultan Ahmed.
The amazing Haya Sophia from the inside, a mosque and a church, yet neither now. Of course there were many islands and places around Istanbul that I couldn’t see in my very short stay there.
But, next time 🙂