Someone far more eloquent than I once said — about traveling, if I remember correctly — that “we cannot uncover that which we do not seek to discover.”
This perfectly sums up my several days in Istanbul which were a part of the European tour I did with HouseTrip in March. There was little agenda except to find, and photograph, the gems of a city which spans both Europe and Asia, as well as two sides of a large body of water and encompasses people who speak several languages, practice more than one religion and in general are not easy to define or explain.
I was a guest of HouseTrip in Istanbul along with ThePlanetD and Niamh Shields and they are paying me a fee to write about my experiences during the #Housetripping project, however all opinions and views are solely my own. As are every one of these images, which were captured on my iPhone 4S.
Istanbul is a fascinating place that I only barely began to wrap my head around as I wandered with my iPhone in hand, seeking to uncover and discover.I found it rather simple to get around, just walking and experimenting with public transportation. A place composed of neighborhoods (several of which I outlined on HouseTrip’s blog) and united by boats, a modern tram, taxis, cars and bicycles it’s about as simple or as complicated as any major metropolis. It’s just, a heck of a lot older! And it’s all in how badly you want to get around and really explore. I wanted it badly. So while I didn’t see all of one of the largest cities in the world, I did see enough to please my wanderlust-driven heart. That is, to convince me that I will need to return one day. For longer. So that I can discover even more.Should you choose to visit, I’d recommend the Galata neighborhood most particularly. It is where my apartment was and in my opinion, it’s a very good combination of a truly local experience with enough to accommodate less adventurous tourists as well. For instance, many menus are in English as well as Arabic or Turkish yet there are not the crowds that are present in other parts of the city. I really loved the views across the Bosphorus to the other areas of the city from the rooftop of our building but the Galata Konak Cafe also presented the same views with the bonus of delicious food and drinks.
Hagia Sophia lived up to every expectation I had and then some. The uppermost stories inside the ancient cathedral are worse for the wear (no surprise since construction began in 537) but the gleaming gold mosaics still brought tears to my eyes.
I have trouble describing Istanbul in words because it is kaleidoscopic beyond what I can communicate in writing. I hope instead, you understand why you should visit by looking at these photographs. I so enjoyed trying to capture the city’s essence through my lens.
Of note is the important fact that I visited Istanbul just before the violent protests which broke out later in the spring. So I don’t know what places I visited might be different now. I did visit Taksim Square and it was a vibrant but peaceful place when I was present.