Hubby and I have been reminiscing over the beautiful things we saw in Istanbul (a sign that we need a new holiday), and it made me think that there’s so much of the countries and cities I have been to which have so many hidden, beautiful parts. There’s a lot of iconic landmarks like the Haga Sofia and Blue Mosque, the Basicilica Cisterns and Topkapi Palace which are of course, a must-visit. But there’s hundreds of other things you can find when you take yourself off the beaten tourist track. One of my favourite memories is walking through winding alleys, past blocks of flats with clothes-lines stretched across the street above us, and bridges and stairs until we found some beautiful rainbow stairs. It was the fact that along the way we saw a lot of beautiful places, which felt so much more real than the tourist spots – grafitti supporting Palestine, the ordinary public on their way to the markets, street-sellers selling cheap handbag replicas and lots of beautiful flowers, buildings and decor.
So here are my top 9 favourite, most colourful photos, each with an accompanying colourful memory. There’s a story behind each photo so make sure you hover over each square to read it!
One of the best restaurants during our stay, a restaurant called Fuego. We ordered a claypot dish called Testi Kebap which was cooked on a live fire then poured into our plates. Still one of the best dishes we have ever had til date.
This was along a small road of the city which was a row of colourful houses and hotels. Loved the vibrant colours so had to take a snap (as well as some portraits of some fruit-sellers nearby!)
This is the apartment that my husband and I stayed at, which had a beautiful garden. We spent most mornings here having breakfast and enjoying our view.
This was in the Old City centre of Istanbul, which was perfect for night-time walks. There’s a park to sit and relax nearby, watch the changing colours of the fountain and enjoy the beautiful sounds of the mosques around us.
We found this mosque while walking across the city along the Galata Bridge across the river. At this moment the ‘azaan’ (call to prayer) rang out in a beautiful voice, and there was a short lull while everyone seemed to stop to listen.
These floral wreaths and hairbands were being hand-made by a few women sitting in Taksim Square, which filled dozens of buckets and made a beautiful rainbow. I bought a few for myself and my nieces to bring home.
I’ll be honest – I liked the Grand Bazaar but didn’t love it – purely because it was just too big and busy for me, and I felt a little overwhelmed by it. One of the things my husband and I decided to hunt for was a lamp to take home – we ended up going to a dozen shops to compare colours, sizes and shapes. We didn’t end up buying one in the end because we couldn’yt decide which to get (and we wanted two, which wouldn’t have fit in our suitcase!) but I always look back in fondness to think of two bargain-hunters wandering around like pros!
This was a spice market we found across the city which we stopped at, to smell the different fragrances and colours. Didn’t buy any but did stop to admire all the colours.
We used to stop every day at the fresh pomegranate and orange fruit stalls to get freshly squeezed juice. Both my husband and I have agreed that this is still one of the best fresh juice we’ve had!