Turkey starts with Istanbul.
Starts with a beautiful sunrise and the first cultural shock of this trip. Sarajevo with its mosques and bazaars was a miniature compared to this.
A lot of people, a lot of things happening. That is the first impression you get.
I failed yet to understand the purpose of people, going around or just standing there, selling everything, and everywhere the same stuff.
After 2 days you learn how to say “hayir” (no in Turkish), and how to use headphones as a way to ignore every single person who calls you to sell you this or that.
I believe that in 5 days I’ve seen it all. There are important icons to the city, like the Grand Bazaar, the Hagia Sophia Mosque or the Galaga tower.
However there were for me more important things, more beautiful. Honestly, once you’ve seen a bazaar you’ve seen them all, the Grand Bazaar differentiates itself for its ceiling and size. But the spices in the Spice Bazaar just give it another color and a more pleasant image.
Didn’t got in to the Hagia Sophia Mosque. I don’t like the concept of paying to get in on sites of praying and like bazaars, once you’ve seen one…
But they are different, they are beautiful. And forgetting the big ones, take your time to explore the little ones and you will be surprised. My favorite terrace is in one, the gates in another, interior in another somewhere else. Never in the big ones dough.
My hostel was on the other side of the Galaga brige, the bridge with all the fishermans that daily make part of the landscape from day to night. And coming to the bridge back to the hostel the most amazing moment was when all the mosques call for prayer, one after the other with delays of a few seconds. The view you get when turning back is of a bunch of illuminated mosques, birds flying scared and filling up a dark sky indicating rain to come that actually never does.
I don’t believe it (Istanbul) to be the accurate picture of Turkey, but more a portrait of the a bridge between 3 continents, a mix so overwhelming to the eyes. And also a good preparation for India.