When we planned our trip to Bosnia and discovered that our flights would be on Turkish Airlines, with layovers in Istanbul, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add another country to our lists, so we decided to extend our layover and spend a few days exploring Istanbul. We had both heard amazing things about the city, and wanted the chance to see it for ourselves.
Istanbul has not disappointed. We’ve loved wandering around the city and seeing all the sites. There is definitely some magic to this place: it’s incredibly beautiful, the history is amazing, and the monuments around the city are breathtaking. But, it’s our interactions with locals that have been the most surprising part of our time here.
We’ve been to plenty of places that have friendly people, but we’ve been blown away by the friendliness of the locals we’ve encountered here. And, not surprisingly, a lot of these great experiences with locals have been all about Hannah. Here are some of the highlights:
- Buying bottled water at a small market, only to have the shopkeeper give Hannah a massive bag of chips for free, just for her.
- Briefly stopping at an outdoor table to feed Hannah, only to have an older gentlemen insist that he buy us some tea so we can relax a bit.
- Servers at almost every food establishment we have been to who have taken Hannah out of our arms, played with her, and offered her treats.
All of this in the span of just about 48 hours. We’re only spending 3 days total here, and feel like we’re only getting a taste of the city. We hope we’ll get to come back someday! It’s been a great way to end our time abroad, and we’re looking forward to landing back in the U.S. tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, here are some quick photo highlights of our time in Istanbul.
In front of the Hagia Sophia.
Right across from Hagia Sophia – The Blue Mosque.
View of Istanbul from the Galata Tower, with Asia on the left, Europe on the right, and Hagia Sophia & The Blue Mosque in the distance.
One of Hannah’s many new friends.
Taking time out to play at a park near Taksim Square.