A quick note: this post is long, and made longer by all the photos. Where possible I made them large, because I think Istanbul deserves to be shown in high res. That said, all photos were taken with my phone – I haven’t even begun to tackle the photos on my camera. Anything that I didn’t Instagram is higher res, and therefore larger. Think of it as inconsistency for consistency’s sake.
Before we left I tried to gauge what it was going to be like traveling with my boyfriend and my parents for 10 days. It turned out to be lovely – there were more than a few times that I looked around the table after a good meal and thought how lucky I was to be on the other side of the world with three of the people I most enjoy talking to. The time passed quickly, too quickly. Like any vacation, it now seems a little like a dream. So, in an attempt to recapture it, I’m going to post a bit on what we did, what we saw, and (way more important to me than it probably should be) what we ate. First up: Istanbul.
|The view from our rented apartment by Galata Tower|
When we landed on Friday (after being delayed, of course) we convened with my parents and Caitlin at our rented apartment to toast the beginning of our vacation with gin and tonics, courtesy of the duty free, and crackers and cheese, courtesy of the Newark airport United lounge. We strolled to dinner, then got some sweet treats, and then headed to a very hip bar near our apartment that had Brooklyn Lager. It was also Mike’s birthday!
|Lokum – Turkish Delight|
|Not a bad way to ring in 35|
Our first full day in Istanbul we headed to my prime target: the Aya Sofia (Hagia Sophia). I studied the church/mosque (or church—>mosque) in high school, and I could.not.wait to see the huge dome, the soaring space, the frescoes. But first we stopped under the Galata Bridge for fish sandwiches, recommended by everyone we had talked to. Dad was pleased.
|Dad gets a showboaty cone|
|The Blue Mosque from Aya Sofia|
|Ma in the Aya Sofia|
|Detail from a rad calligraphy exhibit|
|Galata Tower on the hill, just a few steps from our apartment.|
|Proof we found a metal bar!|
|A 10th century column. You can see the holes were bronze sheets used to be attached, looted by Christian soldiers during the Crusades.|
|The spires of the Blue Mosque in the background, and a gifted Egyptian plinth in the foreground, set on a Byzantine base. ANCIENT MASHUP.|
|This is not actually the Blue Mosque, but a different mosque altogether. Lest you think I was trying to put one over on you. Heretical caveat: they do all start to look equally, fatiguingly grand after a while.|
|Last trek up the 18 million steps to our apartment|
|Take a moment to really appreciate the expressions here.|
Our crowning dinner was Sunday night, in our neighborhood, at a rooftop restaurant called Leb-i Derya. It had 270 degree views of the city, and we timed our reservation for sundown to catch the city lit up in oranges and pinks. We had a leisurely meal of modernized Turkish food and local wine.