Holy moly. This is an experience and a half. So many things, so many beautiful things to experience in this city, that I am legit considering going mad, which is why I decided to put some of my thoughts here because considering I have three more days(four in total) to experience…

Well. Let’s start from the travel from Plovdiv, Bulgaria which was done on day 0. Plan was to finish work on Friday and travel so we can sleep here on Friday night and be ready for exploring on Saturday. Travel was a blast, had tons of fun, mostly because of the company. Ate on the way in both Bulgaria and tried some delicious things on the highway in Turkey. Driving was quite enjoyable… till a point. And that point is basically getting close to Istanbul and everything went crazy.I have no idea how this city keeps growing with such a traffic even at 11 pm. Actually ignore that, this is not traffic – this is hell. Honking is not something to be considered rude???Yep.. It’s just a signal for… well anything and everything. It’s nuts. Pedestrians have zero respect for the signs, neither the car drivers…

Luckily we managed to find our hotel pretty easily (Thanks Google Maps) and park the car and we are not planning to touch it till the day we go home.

Well morning… I do regret not eating breakfast in my first day here and this is something I’ll try to fix tomorrow. However I am not big on eating three times and prefer to eat only once a day. But for the duration of the stay I’ll try to get into a bit different food regiment. On top of that we fell asleep quite late so, so morning was pretty heavy.

The morning started with a small walk on the beach with a view in the distance of the skyscrapers. Some cool moments, including a lady feeding stray cats, which turned out to be pretty popular sight, which was awesome to see.

Lady feeding stray cats in Istanbul <3
Reminds me of the landscape of New York as seen in the movies.

The first place to visit was a huge wall, which continued for a while. That was the wall that was defending Constantinople. There are numerous gates and majority of it seems to be intact, although there are some restoration process going on at this time.

There are different food farms around the walls, surprising af
One of the gates.

Next on the plan for the day… Little Hagia Sophia Mosque. I consider myself agnostic, but cannot fathom the beauty on most of such highly historical and influential buildings. It was renovated and it was glorious. Some pictures below. Also so much bright blue, my favorite color, next to maroon 🙂

A place where you can read a book. Mostly religious books but well… I like the idea.
I like this color of blue.

Then bought ourselves Turkish Museum Pass for 5 days. It gives you access to some museums and it costs 700 TL, which as reasonable. Especially considering how almost immediately I am going to Topkapi Sarai and start using it immediately. Once I have more time and making this post public, I’ll try to put more information about this Pass.

Well, on my way to the place, I saw something out of pass.. I have memories of playing Serious Sam Second Encounter and seeing similar obelisk and it was a very annoying puzzle level. Completely unrelated but well..

Inspiration for Serious Sam games…maybe?
There are tons of random religious monuments everywhere.

And then we get to Hagia Sophia. I am not really fan of what’s happening with it but one of the goals of the trip was to visit it inside. However due to the day or the time or the decent weather(Saturday) there was absolutely too many people waiting in a queue for it. Probably like a kilometer of a queue and we passed for now. But we will return. Monday or Tuesday, depending. Took some pictures from outside and well it is magnificent.

The queue continued for at least 5x times this by the way.

At this point my girlfriend started getting hungry, but there was a lot to still see in front of us. And well we did what a lot of Turkish people do – got ourselves circle bread thingy, which is very very very popular in Turkey.

I went for chocolate inside, she went for Cheese… beats me.

And after that was Top Kapi Sarai. First thing that I noticed and it was weird was that there was semi-intensive check on what you bring and you had to go through metal detector. But I guess that’s a bit understandable as this was the place of residency for many of the sultans of old.

Fountain Sultan Ahmed III and behind you can see the security entrance to Topkapi

First place we visited inside was this was Hagia Irene, which was an Eastern Orthodox church which was commissioned by Byzantine emperor Constantine I in the fourth century. It is the only Byzantine church that was not converted to mosque because it was used as an weapons storage till 19th century. It was a bit disappointing as there were some renovations going on and you couldn’t really see the ceiling that well. Still quite impressive.

The entrance was quite spooky.
Main area
Looks absolutely impressive from outside.

Next we continued on the museum. So much beauty on show. There were some interesting and non-standard activities too, like holograms cinema, which showed the way different Ottoman soldiers fired with bow or old-school rifles. Being the addicted to work IT guy, I couldn’t help but notice they were using non-licenced Windows … There are tons of great things exposed, but I’ll show some of my favorite as there is not enough space and I don’t want to show everything :).

Shiny and Dangerous.

Next step was Museum of Old-School Watches/Clocks. I like wearing watches and listening and learning about some of the mechanisms in those old-school clocks was absolutely mesmerizing and loved every single moment of it.

We spent a bit more time then intended in here so we continued with the tour. There might have been some teas getting drunk to gather some energy, while enjoying some random rooms where in the old times people gathered to talk about the important things of their day… The ceiling design looks amazing.

And then the most fun part of the trip by far. We reached the Harem. I am not gonna talk much about this as it’s mostly personal and just me and my partner in crime being on the same childish mind and just having too much fun together. But in all seriousness, this is a place to visit.

Sacrifices I have a man has to make and visit such bad places
Just some general information

Well there were more museums and random rooms with some thrones exposed and many other significant memorophilia, but at this point it’s just too much to talk about and we were slowly getting tired so we went through them in a but of rush. There was also couple places with great views of Istanbul.

I want an upgrade of the chair in my office
Or home office!
And a better view, although I do like the current one I have in the office – great people!

Then we decided to get some water in our bodies, my gf went for tea, while I managed to find a new Monster type which I haven’t had before…

I’ve had better but definitely not bad. B+ mark.

Next step was going to Kapali Carshi. It’s a huge grand bazaar and I am writing both huge and grand at the same time, because it’s that big. We went through it pretty fast, but will be back again at some point and I am pretty sure you can spend multiple hours and not see everything it has to offer. Tons of small shops, most of them selling fake things, but they are cheap. 5 EUR Tudor T-Shirts, hello…

The Bazaar had over 20 entries/exits for fucks sake.

Final destination behind getting back to hotel and going out for dinner was The Beyazid Mosque. Looked absolutely great from outside and also from inside. Serene and beautiful on the inside while looking like a stable rock from outside.

Marbles everywhere
Beauty and Serenity combined.

Actually I lied. When we were returning towards our hotel we went through Pertevniyal Valide Sultan Mosque, which I am glad we did, as it has very unique looks. It’s one of the last mosques built in the Ottoman Empire and maybe because of that is a combination of couple different styles and definitely does not look like a typical mosque. Sadly not enough time to visit inside, as we had to wash and go out for dinner and drinks.

There is no way I will ever forgive the dinner part of the night and considering how personal it is, I am not writing it here. Also I am a firm believer that you cannot picture a dinner or any meeting between people as too much is just the atmosphere and the company. With the correct company even random ass street food can feel like a Michelin-worthy restaurant.

All I am gonna say is that food in Istanbul is an absolute delight and being in a keto diet is both easy, as a lot of the main food is meat, but also incredibly hard as there is just too much great deserts to choose from and they are everywhere. And the breads… Egh.. Well Time to sleep and go for day 2.

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