Turkey is well known for their hand woven carpets, their leather products, nuts and dried fruit, marble tiles and ceramics.
We had the fortunate opportunity to see how these carpets were made, from scratch! It can take weeks or even up to months for multiple ladies to make one carpet. I was absolutely blown away by their skill and precise hand work to form these intricate patterns on the carpets. I am no carpet expert but I could see and feel the quality and softness of these hand woven gems from a mile away!
After our carpet shopping experience we got whisked away to a shop that boasts one of Turkey’s major exports – their leather. Crafted with the best workmanship, quality and stitching you know buying a leather jacket in Turkey will last you a lifetime! We were very impressed with their styles, fashion forward cuts and stud detail on some designs.. We had our own private fashion show, what an incredible experience!
After our shopping we were craving some Turkish coffee, hubby was adamant he wanted to make it himself!
Another historical stop was at the Dolmabahce Palace built in 19th century. This is by far one of the most glamorous palaces in the world. “Dolmabahçe Palace was built by Sultan Abdulmecid (1839-1861) who was the thirty first Ottoman Sultan. The palace, whose construction commenced on June 13th, 1843, was brought into use on June 7th, 1856, upon completion of surrounding walls. The palace mainly consists of three parts, named as the Imperial Mabeyn (State Apartments), Muayede Salon (Ceremonial Hall) and the Imperial Harem. The Imperial Mabeyn was allocated for administrative affairs of the state, Imperial Harem was allocated for private lives of the sultan and his family and the Muayede Salon, placed between these two sections, was allocated for exchanging of bayram greetings of sultan with dignitary statesmen and for some important state ceremonies. The main building is three storey including the basement on the side which is parallel to sea and it is four storey at the land side involving the Harem quarters with the musandıra (garret) storeys.” – http://www.millisaraylar.gov.tr/portalmain-en/Palaces.aspx?SarayId=16
Images from Internet source Images from Internet source
Images from Internet source
Onto our favourite part of the day, lunch. Turkey is full of street cafe’s offering various foods for every palate. We decided to try some street food – the famous “Baked Potato”. Spoilt with an array of fillings these soft baked potatoes are drenched in butter and cheese before you start choosing your filling. The portions are very generous and very well priced for what you get!
Our next excursion took us on a relaxing cruise on the Bosphorus. This was such a nice way of seeing many more historical landmarks while sipping on an ice cold drink. It was kind of weird seeing Asia on the one side and Europe on the other, that will definitely be a travel moment I will cherish! If seafood is your thing the river side restaurants on the Bosphorus has the best seafood restaurants in town!
The next day we strolled through the streets of Istanbul leading us to the famous Galata Tower. This tower is one of the highest and oldest towers in Istanbul standing at 63 meters high and offering beautiful panoramic views. The Galata tower was built in the 14th century by the Genoese colony as part of the defense wall surrounding their district at Galata. They called the tower “Tower of Christ”. The Genoese traded with the Byzantines and the tower was used for the surveillance of the Harbor in the Golden Horn.
The first flying Turk was Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi, during the Ottoman empire of the 17th century. He studied air flows and copied bird wings then jumped from the Galata Tower! He flew over the Bosphorus and landed on the Asian side, he traveled for about 6 kilometers.
A few last stops before we had to head back to the hotel.
Chocolate anyone!?Enjoying some Kestae/Roasted Chestnuts I had Kunefe after EVERY meal! Delicious!
Travelling back home on Turkish Airlines we were welcomed in their award winning lounge. Their lounge is accessible to all their business class, Miles & Smiles elite and Elite Plus members (business or economy), Star alliance members (who can bring a guest in!) and Turkish Airlines Corporate Club members. The first thing that caught our eye was all the entertainment that was on offer inside this gigantic lounge spreading across two floors, not to mention all the extra bells and whistles. By bells whistles I mean – sleeping rooms, unfortunately there are few regulations in using these rooms so please find out before you head off looking for a room! Each section of the lounge offered its only special feel – there were multiple dining areas, a TV room with nine large televisions and headphones to listen in and loads of spaces to just relax. There is wifi and showers in the lounge as well as cubicles with locks to store any luggage. Unfortunately the kitchen closed at 12 midnight so I can’t tell you about the food.
Myself and hubby ventured to find some entertainment and behold they had a golf simulator! I decided to occupy one of the lie-flat massage chairs while he was swinging a few clubs. They also had video games, scalextric, a kids play area and a cinema. The whole family was happy!
We had such an adventurous time in this beautiful city..
Thanks Istanbul xxx