As you may already gather, I have an incurable case of wanderlust. On my Pintrest board, I’ve collected quite a few locations I’ve wanted to see over time and sometimes I whip these photos out out and have a visual break, mentally.

Some of these places include Santorini in Greece, Petra in Jordan, and many many more!! I’ve always wanted to visit Istanbul. It’s such a global city and one of the fastest-growing metropolitan economies in the world. It’s fascinating how it’s located in both Europe and Asia and has such a blend of many cultures with a rich heritage and history.

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We had four days to explore and were staying in the old town, very close to the Grand Bazaar.

It’s a vibrant, bustling market which opened in 1461. The smells, the colors, the action! I could spend all day gazing at the pretty glow from the mosaic lanterns and perusing the stalls – I’m a bit like a magpie because I’m attracted to the silver jewellery. Bohemian chunky statement pieces are my favorite!

Traditional "evil eye" talismans to ward off jealousy.  Haters gonna hate, after all!

Traditional “evil eye” talismans to ward off jealousy. Haters gonna hate, after all!

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The detailed ceramic pieces were amazing and I ended up sketching the shop while I waited there.

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I was curious about the repeated use of these round pommegranates, and it turns out that when one buys a new home, it is customary for a house guest to bring as a first gift a pomegranate, which is placed near the home altar of the house, as a symbol of abundance, fertility, and good luck.

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The cloak of Fatema (a.s) is both a national and religious icon here in Turkey based on the holy relic available to visit.

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Topkapi Palace was the primary residence of the Ottoman sultans for approximately 400 years (1465–1856) of their 624-year reign.
As well as a royal residence, the palace was a setting for state occasions and royal entertainments. It is now a museum and as such a major tourist attraction. It also contains important holy relics of the Muslim world, including Prophet Muhammed’s cloak and sword. The gardens outside are regal and breathtaking. It’s a great place to take a walk (or skip) around.

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Infusing a bit of spirituality into the trip, we visited a couple of mosques.

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If you stop by the Yeni Camii at the entrance of the Spice bazaar (a.k.a The Egyptian Bazzar) you will surely observe the numerous flocks of pigeons feeding around the mosque. Legend has it if you feed them , your wish come true.

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The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a historic mosque in Istanbul. The mosque is popularly known as the Blue Mosque for the blue tiles adorning the walls of its interior.

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We also visited The Rüstem Pasha Mosque (Turkish: Rüstem Paşa Camii) which is a 16th century Ottoman mosque located in Hasırcılar Çarşısı in the Tahtakale neighborhood, of the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey. It was designed by Ottoman imperial architect Mimar Sinan for the grand vizier Rüstem Pasha .

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The Hagia Sophia was originally built as a Greek Orthodox Church in 537. In 1204 however it was converted into a Roman Catholic Cathedral but was again converted this time into a mosque in 1453. In 1935 under the orders of Ataturk, the Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum. It still has remanants of the different religions it was used to worship in and was amazing to see the difference in decors which were preserved beautifully and kept side by side for all to enjoy.

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i did a fair bit of sketching while there and here’s a few illustrations from my sketchbook. I also managed to fit in a whirling dervish show ..something that I’ve been beguiled with for some time.

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Another pinned picture of mine I visited: this truly amazing rainbow staircase!!! During the summer of 2013, a retiree named Huseyin Cetinel decided to paint a public staircase in the district of Beyoglu. It took him four days but when he was done, the result was a dazzling display of colour in the middle of a dreary-looking area.

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The stairs were an immediate hit. Photos went up online and all across social media and some people even assumed it was an LGBT project due to the rainbow theme. Mr. Cetinel said he did it because he “wanted to make people smile”.

I was gutted when it started POURING that day …

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BUT you know what they say … “without the rain there would be no rainbow”

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