The sun is shining over the Bosphorus River, reflecting right into our sweet little room at the hostel in Istanbul. When we signed up for this 22 hour layover on our way home to Boston, it sounded like a great idea – but then the plane was late and it took us almost two hours to leave the airport and get into the city. As we zipped past wholesale clothing stores on the train, we worried that we were wasting our time.
But then we got off the train to the sound of the evening prayer, and started looking around.
This place is amazing. I’ve still only seen it in the dark but I absolutely love it. In the few hours before bed, we shopped at the Arasta Bazaar just down the street, buying scarves and pottery and looking at the colorful tea options.
We sat in front of the Blue Mosque eating freshly roasted chestnuts and watching the colorful fountain.
Then we ate dinner at an open-air hookah bar, where we sat on velvet-covered benches, eating kebabs and meat and vegetable pancakes cooked by women sitting directly behind us and watching a Turkish dancer twirl to the sound of live music. By the end of the evening, we drank every tea on the menu – and were rewarded with a free cup by our friendly waiter, who delivered us a mix of every type of tea plus ample amounts of sugar. It was sweet perfection, new and welcoming and just lovely in every way.
Now we’re off to the spice market before leaving for the airport around noon. See you on the other side of the Atlantic!