So it’s time! My first visit to Istanbul, Turkey. You know, Turkish soap operas are very popular in Croatia and almost everyone watched them at some point. That wasn’t the main reason why I wanted to go there, it was because of the fact that this country is extremely history-rich and it connects two continents: Europe and Asia. I’m kidding, it was because of the soap operas.
I got my flight ticket and it was the first time I’ve got the “more legroom” seat. I didn’t choose it, they just gave it to me. No additional charges. It was great because I had more room for my legs, it was terrible because I prefer window seats because I like to watch outside, take pictures, make videos etc. It went OK. I didn’t eat anything on this flight (watch my vlog “Don’t eat food on planes – I got sick!”). It took us only two hours from Zagreb, Croatia to Istanbul, Turkey. When I got there, the first thing I saw was the huge poster of the Burak Özçivit, the famous Turkish actor who makes every woman (and some men probably) crazy. I think they worship him there. Not sure. I made a deal with some transfer company to drive me to my hotel and pick me up in a few days. So, why this title? Well, this whole journey was kinda freaky because of the sellers who are way too pushy! They will sell you anything and they accept “No” for an answer, even though it’s a polite “No, thank you”. There were a couple of the transfer companies and they were all yelling their transfer prices WHILE I was talking to the man I wanted to drive me. Then it hit me! That’s the culture and I should change my mentality. I should adjust if I want to survive there, so to speak…
I’m now heading to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel which was beautiful but also kinda small. But who cares, I got the most beautiful room there because when I was booking this hotel on booking.com, it said that this hotel has a transfer shuttle from the airport to the hotel, but it doesn’t so I wrote them an email to delete that info from the page and that it’s weird that this “classy” hotel doesn’t have a transfer. When I got there, they said my room has been upgraded to an executive suite. Sweet, but you guys still don’t have a transfer shuttle. Moving on…
The next day I went to see the “Topkapi Palace” which is very beautiful, large and with an amazing view of the Bosphorus. Then I bought a bunch of Turkish sweets and made a tasting video. “Hafiz Mustafa” is a coffee shop where they made homemade baklavas, a lot of baklavas. All kinds of them! You should definitely visit it while in Istanbul (I keep calling it INSTABUL!). Now it’s time to go to the “Grand Bazaar”. Oh my God! There are more than 3,000 stores where you can buy almost everything: food, drink, clothing, jewelry, spices, textile, you name it! Of course, they sell fake brands there and you have to negotiate about the price. That’s just their culture. He will show you a fake “Armani” shirt and ask 100 euro for it. Then you buy it for 20.
Next day I went to see probably the two most important attractions in Istanbul. First I visited the incredible “Hagia Sofia” or “Aja Sofia”, as they call it. It was a Christian church, then a mosque and today it’s a museum. They kept some Christian symbols such as angels, Mary with Jesus, crosses etc., and there are some Muslim symbols as well. It’s over 1,200 years old and it’s just amazing! The next one is the “Sultan Ahmet Mosque”, one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s called the “Blue Mosque” as well because there are some blue tiles inside. So, for the “Aja Sofia” you must buy a ticket and for this one is free of charge. There is a dress code, of course, and you are not allowed to wear shoes inside of the Blue Mosque. Later that night I went to the “Galata Tower” to see this town’s panorama. What a perfect view! Later on, I walked throughout the “Istiklal Avenue” which is the most famous and expensive street in Istanbul. It’s 1.4 km long and there are a lot of stores so if you want to spend your money, go there.
The third day I booked a full day tour. They picked me up at my hotel so first we went to visit the “Spice Bazaar”. I cannot describe you this amazing smell. Hundreds of spice-stores with fresh, natural spices. We all have tried teas in our lives, but you should try a tea there, they are out of this world. Amazing taste. Finally, we came to a dock where our boat waited for us. We went cruising. Watch my vlog because I can’t describe you how beautiful Bosphorus is and a “Bosphorus Bridge” that connects Europe to Asia. Next stop was the incredible “Dolmabahçe Palace”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to film inside but that palace is sick! I mean, gold everywhere, chandeliers that weight over a tone, expensive carpets, arts, I was mind-blown. You should definitely visit it! My last stop was the “Basilica Cistern” which is the largest ancient cistern in Istanbul. It was built in the 6th century. Brutal.
That’s it! I love Istanbul, think it’s very beautiful but I could never live there. That’s totally different culture and I just couldn’t be able to adjust. I hate when someone is trying to force me to something and that’s what these sellers do. It’s kinda freaky. If you have the chance, visit it and let me know how you liked it. But don’t go alone there. Please. I will definitely come back to Turkey, but probably to some other town, somewhere near the sea…Antalya or Mersin, I heard they have amazing beaches there.