A Little More Istanbul

Let me preface this post by apologizing for the recent hiatus! It has been an uncharacteristically busy few weeks for me and writing has unfortunately been pushed a bit to the wayside. But never fear, regular posting starts again now!

The last time I wrote, I had spent time exploring some of the most famous and well known places in Istanbul. However, Istanbul is a truly massive city, and there is so much more to see than just the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. So without further ado, here are a few more of the places that I visited whilst in Istanbul.

Arasta Bazaar

Arasta Bazaar is located well within the most touristy part of Istanbul (it lies adjacent to the Blue Mosque) but for some reason, doesn’t seem to get a lot of traffic. This was the only market I visited in Istanbul where I wasn’t hassled, I wasn’t yelled at and I wasn’t grabbed at by desperate vendors. Funnily enough, this was also the only market in Istanbul where I bought something – go figure!

I bought a lovely cream coloured silk scarf for only a few lira, and it was this scarf that I ended up wearing for the entire time I was in Iran – so it ended up being a great purchase!

Prior to arriving in Turkey, I had liked the idea of going home with a beautiful Turkish lamp, but the only ones I saw anywhere looked cheap, tacky and nothing like what I had imagined, so my silk scarf was the only souvenir I bought in Istanbul.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace is an extremely large palace in central Istanbul that was home to Ottoman Sultans for close to 400 years. Dating back to the mid-1400s, Topkapi is one of the best examples of an Ottoman Palace in all of Turkey, and as a result, it is extremely popular amongst both travellers and locals alike.

I will quite openly admit that I am not overly interested in Turkish history. I am not disinterested at all, it’s just not an area of history that I find myself particularly drawn to. So, even though I wasn’t too fussed on learning the ins and outs of the palace, it still kept me occupied and engaged for a good few hours.

I had already seen some incredible examples of architecture and textiles whilst in Istanbul, but some of the design and structure I saw in Topkapi was truly astounding.

The castle overlooks the city below, and even on a cloudy and smoggy day, still provides some pretty amazing views of Istanbul.

Entrance to Topkapi Palace costs 40TL (approx $14) which is pretty steep! So if you plan to visit Topkapi, it pays to take your time and soak up as much as you can. You want to get the most bang for your buck after all!

Here are a few more photographs of my favourite spots in Topkapi Palace.

Galata Bridge and Tower

The Galata Bridge is a famous bridge which spans ‘the golden horn’ of Istanbul. It is a beautiful bridge and it boasts some absolutely lovely views out over the water. However, my feelings about this bridge are mixed.

On the way towards Galata Tower I walked along the top of the bridge and really liked it – I passed friendly fihsermen and got to soak up some sunlight, something which I had been seriously lacking! On my way back across the bridge, I decided to walk along the lower level to try and get some different photographs, but this ended up being very unpleasant. There are restaurants lining the underside of the bridge and some of the vendors were so aggressive in trying to get me into their restaurant that I felt genuine fear.

Instead of taking the time to enjoy the views, I scurried along as quickly as I possibly could to try and get away from the harassment and on occasion, the verbal abuse that was thrown my way when I chose to ignore it.

Seriously, to all the men in Istanbul that think this is the way to attract business – you are sorely mistaken.

THE  LOWDOWN 

Getting to Istanbul: Istanbul is well serviced by two international airports – Ataturk and Sabiha Gökçen
Cheers Hostel: A cheap hostel with wonderful staff and a rooftop bar with brilliant views
Topkapi Palace: For more information about Topkapi Palace – click here
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Business owners in Istanbul are getting desperate, but they need to learn that their behaviour is completely unnacceptable – if you feel harassed, continue onwards and pay them no mind – they do not deserve your business

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

44 thoughts on “A Little More Istanbul

  1. Arasta Bazaar was one of my favorite finds in Istanbul, and my friend and I also could not get over how few people discovered it. We spent so much time wandering and chatting with people, and we both ended up spending more than we expected to because everyone was so nice!

  2. I’m often tempted, if harassed, to make a point of taking a photo of both the harasser and their shop/restaurant and, when they ask what I’m doing, inform them I’m just taking photos to inform my the audience of my international travel blog where never to spend money. For me the “audience” part would be misleading, but for you it would be totally genuine!

  3. I only knew of Topkapi Palace, from the 1960’s film “Topkapi”. Being a plodding, detail-oriented visitor, I would definitely take my time in a place like that. I would probably respond to vendors grabbing and cursing, by going on a hunger strike! Glad you are safe and back to posting.

      1. It is good to hear from you. At the end of the day, home is the best place to wind up after all your travels and look back at it all with a smile, a hefty dose of nostalgia and a glint in the eye.

      2. I need to get better at keeping up with comments while on the road though! I have plans for a four-year trip (no breaks) starting in 2019 and I need to get the hang of keeping up with the blog whilst abroad!

      3. Four-year trip! How fabulous. Sounds most exciting. Your readers will be turning all shades of emerald. I am sure you will figure a way out though your readers clearly love your posts enough to wait for the replies 😉

      4. I am hoping to meet up with some of my readers along the way too! I will be going through SE Asia, Central Asia, the middle east, up and down the east and west coasts of Africa up to Portugal, then across to Mexico and down through central and south america!

      5. Even better. Nothing like blogger meets to exchange stories and compare notes mentally on how they appear in person. If you are anywhere around me at any point I shall give you a shout and see if you are free for a cup of coffee and croissant 🙂 That is a varied list of cultures. Do take care while meeting the anacondas though.

      6. Well at least that anaconda will hear a few stories from all around the world before passing you a hug. I see the beginnings of a great friendship there.

  4. I love the colorful photos! Your photos are always great. I was in Istanbul for a day a few years ago and I really liked the place. I didn’t notice any harassment from vendors but maybe it’s because I am from Nepal and could blend in with the crowd more or less. 🙂

  5. Everything is so beautiful and colorful! I hate that there is so much harassment to get people to buy things though, just like you said it really makes you not even want to be around those people let alone buy anything from them. I suppose that is their culture though, but it surely doesn’t attract business! Thanks for sharing your adventure, sounds like a fun place to go…minus the harassment of course! lol

  6. “Astounding” is the perfect word to describe Topkapi palace – it was a definite highlight of my visit to Istanbul as well!

    It’s funny, after living in Turkey for a bit I can say that having shopkeepers and restaurant workers hassle and heckle is completely normal to Turkey – to a moderate extent. In all other parts of the country, that’s merely how people do business, with a lot of noise and theatrics. But usually if they see it’s not working on you, they get over it quickly and on to the next person. In Istanbul, it’s different, and the aggressiveness and constant presence of it is truly overwhelming! The first two nights I was in Istanbul, I didn’t think I liked it, or Turkey, at all, since I was staying near Sultanameht. But the third night, my travel companion and I couchsurfed with a Syrian English teacher on the other side of town, and I was able to peek behind the curtain of Istanbul, and like it a whole lot more!

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