#HosGoGlobal to Europe {Istanbul, Turkey}

May 07, 2016

My family and I went to Istanbul, Turkey on the 4th day of our #HosGoGlobal 10-day journey. Istanbul has a rich history and is full of beautiful architectures everywhere. I was always fascinated and drawn to cities with a very strong cultural appeal so during our two-day stay in Istanbul, we got to experience it a bit.

We arrived in the afternoon and it was very quiet and empty on the streets. Little did I know that majority of the city actions happen in night time. On our first day, we visited the famous landmarks of the city, Hagia Sophia, a beautiful museum that was once a mosque, Topkapi palace and Istanbul Archaeology Museums. IAM consists of the main archaeological museum, museum of the Ancient Orient and the Museum of Islamic Art. There were over thousands of objects in different eras from the world and we could easily spend a full day exploring here.

{Hagia Sophia}

{Istanbul archaeological museum}

27 of us!

{Topkapi Palace}

Hat: Spring \\ Necklace: Hong Kong \\ Top: H&M \\ Pants: Joe Fresh \\ Shoes: China Town \\ Bag: Samantha Thavasa

{Blue Mosque}

We joined a guided tour on the second day to take us to the Blue Mosque (also known as Sultan Ahmet Camii). It was probably one of the most beautiful architectures I've seen. As soon as I stepped into the mosque, I was blown away. The domes, Byzantine ivory work, beautifully decorated tiles, everything was so detailed and a true reflection of the classic Ottoman style.

Before entering the Blue Mosque, the ladies need to cover up their heads and shoulders showing as little skin as possible. That means no sleeveless tops and mini skirts. Knee-length skirts and pants are preferred. It is a holy place after all, so modesty is ideal.

Apart from visiting mosques and museums, it would be a regret to leave Istanbul without trying out any Turkish cuisine and delicacies. So after looking around Sultanahmet district for a restaurant, we finally settled with Harem Istanbul Cafe & Restaurant.

{Harem Istanbul Cafe & Restaurant}
We were greeted by friendly staffs and they recommended a few dishes for our group to try. We had a fairly large group, so we were lucky that the restaurant was empty during the day so we could all fit into a large table.

I told you we had a large group and this wasn't all of us either!

Mixed fish platter - seafood is huge in Turkey, mainly because of its coastal location. So, we ordered this platter to try a bit of everything. It included calamari, sea bass, sea bream, salmon, shrimp, served with salad and rice.

Huge baked pita with eggplant tomato sauce and a Turkish yogurt dip with mint and roasted garlic
Harem special - chicken and lamb kebabs, meatballs, adana kebabs served with a charcoal grill at your table. This was a large enough dish to share among a big group. Watching the meat cooked right in front of you is always entertaining, don't you think?

Harem kebabs
Testi Kebab - a truly entertaining dish to share and watch before it was served. There was a choice of meat between sliced lamb or chicken. The dish was served in a clay pot with onions, garlic, peppers and other veggies, and then it was placed into the oven to slow cook.  When the food is ready, the staff would break open the clay pot and pour the food on the plate in front of you.

{Grand Bazaar}

Istanbul is also famous for its marketplaces so stopping by the Grand Bazaar is a must for some souvenirs to bring home! We were overwhelmed by the number of the shops at the market. Merchants from different shops would try to sell you products and invite you to come inside to take a look. I wouldn't be surprised if anybody got lost inside the Grand Bazaar because every corner looks identical. After shopping for an hour or so, each member of our group bought something back. For myself, I got some apple tea, pashmina shawl, turkish lamp, and a ceramic kitchenware that says, "Istanbul" on it.

Besides visiting these famous tourist attractions and landmarks, be sure to try Turkish ice-cream, shishas and their baths while you're there. They are truly an unique experience you don't want to miss!

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About Me

About [span]me[/span]
Hello, my name is Lorita. This is a journal of my personal style, travel adventures, food excursions, recipe experiments, DIY tutorials and every little thing in life.