My best ( recent- ish) vacation

This week for FPQ # 184, Fandango asks;

What was the best vacation you ever took and why?

What I wrote in response to FPQ # 8, (“When was the last time you did something for the very first time? What was it that you did?”) would be what I’d write in response to this weeks Question. So I’m sharing my post here again;

Last year ( 2017) I went with my best friends to Visit Istanbul, Turkey. It was the first time that I went abroad with my friends, just a girls trip.

It was November, last year that I and a couple of my friends made the plan to visit Turkey, specifically, Istanbul.

There were many recommendations for traveling to Istanbul. It was cheap, the people were friendly and it was a place of historical interest. Not that we were so hooked on history but who wouldn’t want to see the palaces and churches that attract millions of visitors every year.

The trip was, all the traveling time inclusive, of a week. A friend had researched all the places we should visit, complete with a travel itinerary. We decided that we would visit only Istanbul and explore the city as much as we can.

Dolmebaché Palace is situated on the side of Bosporus straits. It was an amazing place. A luxurious and grand palace, residence of the sultans. It was the last place we visited on our trip and it wouldn’t have been complete without this visit.

Cruise on the Bosporus; It was a lovely experience with a round trip , starting from the part of river near the Topkapi palace traveling towards the golden horn and then returning to the starting point. While on the cruise, we were informed in English about the places we were passing by and their historical significance.

Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque; The historic Topkapi palace, ruling seat of the Ottoman Empire was built in 1459. It’s a fascinating place, alive with the historical atmosphere and kept is great repair by the administration. Right next to it was Hagia Sophia, initially a church which was converted into a mosque when Turkey was conquered by Sultan Ahmet in 1414, A D. It is now a museum.

The blue mosque is familiar to many as one of the most pictured landmark of Istanbul.

Grand Bazaar/ Spice Bazaar; Both are adjacent to each other in the older part of the city. Going there is like stepping back into the past. One feels as if we are in some medieval eastern city, or in a movie like Aladdin!

But though the place seemed mysterious, there was no mystery about all the shops and the shoppers. The place was teeming with tourists from every nation on the earth, haggling with shop owner about the prices. The shoes were selling everything from spices, tea jewelry to garments bags and beautiful hand crafted porcelain pieces. The famous Turkish lamps made out of multicolorEd glass and other hand painted souvenirs were in high demand.

We made a few trip to the grand bazaar and had to restrain ourselves from buying too much of these arty pieces.

A trip to Istanbul cannot be complete without visiting the Istaklal street and Taksim Square. The heroes memorial in the Taksim Square attracts a lot of photographers, taking selfies or asking passerby’s to take their pictures. Right in front of the memorial we the famous Turkish Doner Kebabs.

Istaklal street with its street cafes, clubs and impromptu dance performances was a treat to visit. All the western big brands have outlets on The Istaklal street.

The Turkish people are extremely friendly and welcoming. The food there is appetizing and flavorful. The people are quite health conscious and eat plenty of fruits, pomegranates are a notional favorite.

So this was one thing that I did last year , which I hadn’t done before.

Have you visited Turkey?

Please share your experiences in comments.



76 thoughts on “My best ( recent- ish) vacation

  1. Thank you for the reprise of your lovely travel essay with mesmerizing photos. I would love to visit Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia would be my first stop. So much rich history and fascinating doors (you know me and doors!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing the wonderful sights of your trip. While not quite as exotic, when I had gone to Niagra Falls you could see and hear different people and their musical voices from all over the world. With that in mind I put sound to your images.

    I’ve visted Mexico (though just an area around a site my hubby had to work at, we did drive through one of the famous tourist check points when heading back to the states… but we didn’t buy anything from the vendors.), Italy (only a short time in Rome), Canada, some Caribbean island countries. And many but not all states in the US. Traveling can be fun 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

              1. I remember shopping with a relative once… I ended up buying clothes I didn’t need. I generally shop by myself these days… but being a tourist to enjoy sights is different 😀

                Liked by 1 person

                  1. I’ve learned to (well try) and not use my card and only spend what cash I have… and limit what cash I carry 🙂

                    But then when I go to the charity shop I used to buy more… but I’ve realized I really need less! 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. I read an article that said you could save $5,000 in a month if you played a type of game with yourself. I think it was fifty (maybe 100) envelopes with $1 – $50 ($100) (or more?) on each one. You pick one envelope a day and have to put that amount in the envelop and seal it. By the end of filling of all the envelopes you have reached your goal. But then not all of us have that much loose cash floating around!

                      One year I tried just putting the amount I saved at the grocery store away… close to $300 that year. But I don’t use as many coupons now. But I do get elder discount one day a week for the store product at one place. And that adds up too.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. That’s one reason I like saving coupon money…it was money I was going to spend on groceries anyway. 🙂

                      I think some of the folks who have dual incomes or good jobs might be able to do it. Those who can afford to make huge monthly car payments for 5 or 6 years!! 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I would imagine in other European countries as well, where shoppers do daily groceries that coupons are not a regular thing? Maybe there are other rebate?

                      Each country is different. 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

                    4. One year an organizational leader suggested that families try to exist for a week on lower quality products – just to see how those folks got along. That person was surprised. I think those who do regular shopping and have known ‘thinner’ days already knew what to expect.

                      Liked by 1 person

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