The Beautiful Colours of Istanbul

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!

 

A Grand Entrance

Its not often I get a chance to stop at beautiful gates like this, but naturally when they come on a beautifully grand scale like this, a picture must be taken. It brings me to mind stories that I’ve read in the past where the hero (or heroine) has to reach the gates fast enough to get their happy ending – or even Greek Tragedies like Orpheus and Eurydice‘s tale of lost love. Inspiring enough to try my own hand at a fable like this, if I manage to finish it, I’ll post my story!

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Honeymoon Travels: The Grand Bazaar

I have always loved going to markets of all types, and I always seek them out when I’m in new places – so naturally I wanted to visit the famous (and biggest) market in Istanbul, which was the Grand Bazaar.

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It was certainly nothing like I expected, which was something like an open bazaar with people flogging their wares on stalls. The Grand Bazaar is just that, grand and diverse. Most of the market is inside an old building with several winding hallways and corridors, each one packed on both sides with sellers and shops. Below are just a few of the things which caught my eye, lanterns, carpets, scarves, lamps, spices and sweets, but there’s so much more. I caught sight of fake Louboutins, gold jewellery, ice creams, jewellery, paintings and hundreds more things which are available on display.

We ended up spending a few hours here looking for souvenirs, haggling and comparing, and came away a little dazed and overwhelmed, not to mention the fact that we had entered from one of the Market and exited half a mile in another direction!

 

City Dreams from a distance

Sometimes I enjoy being in a congested, crowded place to work in and live in, if only because of the beautiful night lights I see on the way home. There’s unexpected moments where I stop to appreciate the beautiful little things, the hidden street art, the pretty lanterns, the beautiful skies.

This is something I saw when I peeked out of my window at work about three minutes before putting my coat on to go home – the lights looks lovely, the sky was a wash of colours and there’s something dreamy about the city skyline in the background, especially with the string of coloured lights. I go past these lights every day (they change colour, that’s why one is green!) and have always wanted to get a decent picture of the lights, and have never quite managed to. Today I got a lucky shot which I was quite happy with, although no doubt I’ll keep trying to take better shots!

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Rainbow Mosaic Lantern Mondays

I’m fascinated with lanterns, chandeliers and light hangings which are beautifully crafted and slightly unusual – which is probably why I love going to Middle Eastern restaurants that have luxury decor (must be the magpie in me). I loved this beautiful mosaic-style lantern which I saw in a Turkish restaurant recently, hanging close above my table.

I’d love to buy these and hang them all around the house in random places, but knowing my luck they’d all crash and break onto some unlucky passerby. Still, it’s a good Monday for beautiful things : )

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A Stroll Around Chinatown…

…The one in London that is. It’s a lovely atmosphere to walk around in, with plenty of beautiful red lanterns, gazebos to walk in an out of, and smells of various Chinese food and incense.
Didn’t quite manage to capture the sunset against this lovely Gate as it was too cloudy, but I loved the stream of lanterns against the traditional style of the gate and it’s beautiful Chinese characters. Definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby, there’s always plenty of events and things to do, and it’s something which has become one of London’s landmark places to visit. I’m sure I’ll find myself there again soon enough!

Rajasthani Style Glass and Plates

Okay they’re not really from Rajasthan, I just though they looked a bit like they came from there because they had a similar style of the rajasthani signature bright colours, mirrors and pretty mosaic patterns combined with glass. And god knows I’m a sucker for pretty, sparkly things like these. Saw these when shopping on the weekend (and bemoaned the fact that I have no space ANYWHERE for ornamental-y things like these in my bomb-site of a house). I liked how pretty the lanterns are too, imagine these things gently swaying in the wind in your back garden (not so pretty, one of the kids running past them in the garden and sending them crashing – not so pretty).

Made me feel as if I was  wandering past a glass seller’s stall on the streets of Morrocco or something. Sigh.

Glueguns & Craftiness: My love for golden Tealights & Lanterns

I do love lanterns and tealights, especially where they look traditional or intricate. So I couldn’t resist snapping up these (very cheap may I add) tea-lights when I saw them:

And decided to give them a make over…

Until they ended up looking like these pretties…

I’m very please with the results! And best of all they’ll go with the the lanterns that I already have (and which I have spray-painted gold already), and which has proved very useful for mehndi nights and party decorations. Don’t you think they look lovely? They make great showpieces and really feel like a luxuy piece : )