I arrived in Istanbul on the 7th of December straight from Panyu in Guangzhou (China). Thanks to Turkish Airlines there is a non-stop connection between Guangzhou and Istanbul four times a week. The contrasts of the two places could not have been more differing. The city of Istanbul is certainly a fusion of senses. I suppose Istanbul is similar to the Shanghai or the Dubai of Turkey, because it's not the capital city, yet it's a very culturally and historically vibrant place to visit. There is so much to do and see. If you are a photographer you could be here for days, weeks, or even months and still find some different inspiration everyday. Being a stranger in the city, I decided to explore like I always do when I go to a new place- wander around without a map and a camera in my hand. I have always found that the best way to familiarize yourself in a new city is by getting lost (and drawing a map in my mind).
Some of the things that I immediately noticed upon a few hours after landing in Istanbul were the beautiful crimson skies in the evening, the cats wandering around everywhere (Istanbul is the city of cats), the very hospitable Turkish people, the smell of roasted chestnuts, beautiful mosques towering the skyline with their minarets (there are over 3,000 at the latest count), hazelnuts, fresh pomegranate juice, fish kebab meat by the Galata, and the call for prayer five times a day (it is an Islamic country). Not to forget the rich variety of Turkish food, and it's not just about kebabs and Turkish Delights you know? There is plenty of flavor from nice crunchy Turkish salads, richly thick yogurts, and plenty of exotic fruit drinks.
The old city is full of life-crowds...it's busy, and yet that's the most beautiful thing about Istanbul. It's busy but people are friendly, and there is no hustle & bustle, and everything and everyone seems to be in harmony. During my 4 days I even managed to experience a Turkish Bath (actually it was such a good experience that I had two Turkish baths). I will write about this Turkish bath experience in a later blog article.
While I was there it rained for half a day and then was beautiful for the remaining few days. The unique climate, which consists of a mixture of weather conditions in the Mediterranean, Marmara Sea, and Black Sea regions provides a perfect setting for Istanbul, and Turkey, to enjoy year long fertile land. This of course, gives way to delicious homegrown Turkish fruits and vegetables which happen to naturally colourful.
So here are the photos of my trip. Later on I will write about my experiences of eating at some traditional Turkish restaurants, experiencing a Turkish Bath, and my list of top things I love about Istanbul....enjoy!
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