Where East Meets West – Istanbul
Napoleon Bonaparte was credited saying about Istanbul, that If the Earth were a single state, Istanbul would be its capital.
Well I don’t know about that, but for those who have never visited this city, when I was there a couple of weeks ago it seemed as though the earth’s population had decided to be there at the same time!
Istanbul, is a city I have wanted to visit for a long time, the city has been a back drop to many films, books – even Rick Stein featured this fast paced city in one of his shows – from Venice to Istanbul ( another of my favourite cities! )
We visited for just 3 days in March and we were blessed with glorious sunshine – I find this always helps. From the moment of arriving at the airport you could feel the electricity of Istanbul and just 45 minutes later we arrived at our hotel, the Conrad Bosphorus, and it was exactly as described. The check in was smooth and lots of helpful information was given to us about the hotels facilities etc. We had booked an executive room on the 14th floor and had magnificent views over the mighty Bosphorus – I mean, that is one river that never sleeps – there are so many ferry boats that cross from East to West and West to East all day and most of the night, container ships go from the Black Sea to the Sea Of Marmara shipping all number of products. It is amazing to see.
Then once out of the hotel there is so much to see and do – but you do take your life in your hands if you get a taxi! They weave in and out of the traffic, jostligng to get ahead of other cars – they could give Lewis Hamilton a run for his money!
The first thing we had to do was take a short boat trip, it was so interesting learning about the new bridges, the tea houses and gardens. Then we went to the old city and visited the magnificent Blue Mosque, a must see and do, there is also an underground water cistern that was really interesting. I only wish we had more time but that’s all the more reason to visit again.
If you are looking for a short break with history, culture, luxury hotels and a fast paced vibrant atmosphere then please give Istanbul a go.