Words by Lisa Cheso
On arriving in Istanbul my first thought was “Wow, what a chaotic place!” There were people and traffic everywhere, but I loved the atmosphere, the people, the history and the food! The Turkish Delight is amazing and the displays in the shops are simply mouth-watering.
A trip to the Grand Bazaar was incredible. With 4,000 shops under one roof you could easily spend a lot of time and a lot of money there.
My hotel was in the Old Town and a 10-minute walk to Sultanahmet Square, which is the place to be. My tip is to stay in this area so you can easily mingle with the locals, and so that you are within walking distance of all the major sights including The Blue Mosque. The Old Town is full of winding roads with the locals living amongst the older boutique style hotels.
Istanbul is a very interesting place and full of history. The Hagia Sophia, or Aya Sofya as it is known in Turkish, was once a Greek Orthodox Church then a mosque and is now a museum. It is one of the world's most beautiful and important monuments - the original church on this site was built by Constantine the Great in 325AD. The interior of the Church was amazing.
I also enjoyed a sumptuous dinner cruise on the Bosporus one evening. Onboard there was great entertainment and fantastic, expansive views of the city.
All in all, I would highly recommend a visit to Istanbul, Turkey!