A few weeks ago I arrived in Istanbul on my own. I wasn't expecting to go, it was a last minute trip, and it was one I was a nervous about taking. For all kinds of reasons, I wasn't at all sure the city and I were going to get on. But it turned out to be amazing and any preconceived ideas and feelings I had towards it were completely changed after only a few hours of wandering around.
I had a day to myself before my family arrived and so I decided to just explore. I marked my hotel on a map and then put it away; I just walked out the front door, turned right, and one of the first places I came across was Gulhane Park. I think it's where young couples go to spend time with each other away from their families, it felt like a very romantic place.
In every corner couples were sitting and talking, sometimes smoking, sometimes holding hands - they all seemed like they were trying to keep a low profile but maybe that's part of the fun (that or they weren't supposed to be there).
Doesn't she look beautiful in her wedding dress? I like to think that she chose to come here for her wedding photos because it was where her and her husband used to secretly meet against the wishes of their parents.
I stopped at a cafe every so often to try all the things I knew I should try while in Istanbul. Baklava, yum. Turkish coffee, not so much.
Turkish tea on the other hand, I'm hooked! I love tea no matter where I am in the world but I just couldn't get enough of this stuff. Turkish food is great, turkish delight is amazing, but the tea tops it all in my opinion.
I also ended up in the Blue Mosque which was unlike any other religious building I have ever been inside. It took my breath away. Everywhere in the world I travel I make sure to visit the mosques, churches, temples... basically any religious building I'm allowed in. I just love it, they are my favourite.
I love watching people pray. I always feel a bit guilty about photographing them during such a private moment but it's just too beautiful to miss.
Everywhere you look in Istanbul there's something to see, some beautiful little thing or a moment between two people. Being both asian and european it's such an interesting place to just sit and people watch.
The sun sets in this city like nowhere else, it was so beautiful and almost peaceful. Later my brother would tell me that he thinks it's because of the smog - but I like to think it's because it's just naturally a romantic place.
And did you know that Istanbul is where my blog name comes from? But that's a story for another time.