Hope you didn’t think I got taken as an ISIS bride. (Too soon?)
I’ve been back for…some time now…but I’m ready to tell you all about my trip to Turkey and Romania!
If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ll have seen some teasers that you’ve probably long since forgotten about (booby lather, anyone?) and I apologize for not pulling through on those stories sooner. You know how much I hate apologizing.
To kick off my tour of Istanbul, allow me to introduce you to the Sultanahmet District, an absolutely unavoidable part of the city that I explored on my first day. Even if you never physically stepped foot into the area, you would undoubtedly catch glimpses of the spires of the Blue Mosque and dome of the Hagia Sophia from all over the city.
I headed straight for them, though, and if you think they’re impressive from afar, they’re overwhelming from up close. I got intercepted a few times by Turkish men claiming they wanted to “swim in my blue eyes” (you mean green eyes?) and take me for a cup of tea per Turkish tradition. Pass. Pass pass pass.
“Hello, Lonely Little Blonde Target, please marry me.”
It took me a mere 20 minutes before I had forgotten how to speak so I could avoid the men and see the things I wanted to see without being pestered in this area heavy with tourists. And we know I’m not one to avoid men, especially foreign ones.
I spent a huge portion of the day wandering around, catching a wifi hotspot here and there so I could upload a picture or two to Instagram.
I played around on the public transportation system, which, as a rural Iowan dependent on her car, was an event all in itself. Tram. Subway. Marmaray. Subway. Water taxi. Regular taxi. The subway system in Istanbul really impressed me. Super easy to use and cleaner than the Tube in London. The marmaray is an underground rail that takes you under the Bosphorous (the strait separating the European side and Asian side of Istanbul), though there’s a lot more to see and enjoy if you take a boat across.
One of my favorite things I explored that day was the Basilica Cistern, which is a spooky underground cavern that looks pretty inconspicuous from the street, but it truly amazing once you’re under the city. Okay, it’s not spooky, just dark and damp and awesome and surprisingly photogenic.
After the first day, I figured I’d accomplished all there was to accomplish in Istanbul, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Little did I know, I’d be topless in front of a dozen strangers the very next day. More on that later.