Five Things I Can’t Wait to Experience When I’m Back in Istanbul

Three months ago, I flew to the United States via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. It was the best deal I could find and I decided it would be fun to visit Istanbul during my layover, even if it was just for eight hours.

In the blog post I wrote about that eight-hour layover, I finished by saying, “Next time, Istanbul, I’m coming for a week.”

Istanbul 2016 post-1810Istanbul’s Blue Mosque.

I meant what I said; eight hours in Istanbul is certainly not enough and I wanted to come back for a longer stay. But let’s face it: Istanbul is a long way from Joburg. I knew I wanted to go back but had no idea when such an opportunity would arise – months, years, maybe never.

I guess the travel gods heard my prayer. Because a few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend an international conference called the World Tourism Forum, as part of a global delegation of bloggers, during the first week of February. Guess where the World Tourism Forum takes place? That’s right. Istanbul.

Istanbul 2016 post-1898Istanbul!

The conference lasts for three days but I’m going to stay for a week afterward. (See? I meant what I said.) I haven’t made specific plans yet and I’ll probably just wing it to some extent. But I’m sure I’ll have no problem filling the time.

Here are a few of the things I’m looking forward to when I’m back in Istanbul:

1) The photography. Istanbul (and all of Turkey for that matter, from what I’ve seen and heard) is a photographer’s dream. It’s an ancient place with layer upon layer of colors and textures and shapes.

Blue-mosque-ceilingInside the Blue Mosque.

2) The architecture. I only had time to visit the Blue Mosque and walk past the Hagia Sophia last time. But I saw enough to know that Istanbul has some of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the world.

3) The food. Again, my layover only allowed me time for a quick breakfast and some coffee and baklava. But Turkish food is one of my favorite cuisines, as you know if you’ve read my posts about Turkish restaurants in Joburg. I’ll be experiencing the real thing this time, and lots of it.

Turkish-delight-shopTurkish sweets.

4) The people. From what I’ve experienced so far, both here in Joburg and briefly in Istanbul, Turkish people are friendly, kind, funny, and welcoming. I’m looking forward to meeting tons of people and shooting a lot of portraits.

5) The cats. CATS! When I was in Istanbul last year, the very first photo that I shot was of a cat. They’re everywhere, literally. Cat-watching can entertain me for hours, if not days, and I can’t wait to get up close in personal with every one of Istanbul’s millions of cats.

Istanbul 2016 post-1789
A beautiful Istanbul cat. And part of a pants leg.

One interesting plot twist: It’s winter in Turkey, and it will be cold. I haven’t experienced winter in the Northern Hemisphere – like actual winter, with below-freezing temperatures and snow – since I moved to South Africa in 2010. So that will be interesting. But I’m up for the challenge.

I leave tonight. Istanbul, here I come. For a week.

My flight to Istanbul will be provided courtesy of Turkish Airlines, and my stay is courtesy of the World Tourism Forum and Blogger Casting. To get an idea of what the city has to offer, watch this awesome two-minute video about Istanbul.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Lani February 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Congrats and safe travels. Looking forward to your awesome pics and posts! xxoo

    • Reply 2summers February 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks so much Lani!

  • Reply Chas Spain February 2, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Enjoy!! I went to a conference in Istanbul a couple of years ago and had a sort of 8 hour stay as I had one day to myself and the rest was hectic. After the first day I was completely knackered – I was determined to squeeze in as much as possible – it was wonderful.

    • Reply 2summers February 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks for the comment! Glad I’m getting a little more time this round 🙂

  • Reply tenney mason February 2, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Go Heather

    • Reply 2summers February 2, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks Dad. Been meaning to call you 🙂

  • Reply Brenda February 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Quite by accident I found a Museum of contemporary Art down on the docks. It it is in an old fez factory. Sensational work by artists, Turkish and other, whose names were quite unfamiliar. A great experience and all the better for being a total surprise.
    Like you, I’ve got to get back to Istanbul!
    If you haven’t already be sure to read Orhan Pamuk’s “Istanbul”

    • Reply 2summers February 3, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      This sounds amazing! Thanks for the tip. I’m also planning to go to the Museum of Innocence, which is Orhan Pamuk’s museum.

  • Reply Becky February 2, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    It it always so exciting to get what you have wanted. Congrats and have a ball.

    • Reply 2summers February 3, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Thanks Becky!

  • Reply autumnashbough February 3, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Cats and food! And turrets! Is there a better vacation anywhere?!

    • Reply 2summers February 3, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Nope.

  • Reply pareddownlife February 6, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Also, the ancient “bridge” between Europe and Asia.

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