Istanbul, Turkey – a city of 14 million people that bridges two continents, Asia and Europe, and therefore has attributes of both.
While living Italy we went there for a few days when Sam was just three months old. It was our first trip outside of Italy after his birth. Yes, we visited Hagia Sophia, a church, then a mosque and now a museum, and one of Istanbul’s most photographed and visited sites. Yes, we visited the Blue Mosque, a historic site and active mosque. And yes, we went to a hamam (Turkish bath).
For me though, the best part of Istanbul was the street life. Just walk around. Head to the Grand Bazaar from your hotel or rented flat. Head to the Egyptian (spice) Market, less well known then the Grand Bazaar and shopped by locals much more than tourists.
Walk through and admire (or buy?) the spread out rugs, look at the heaps of spices in the bazaars and street vendor stalls (smell them too!), sip Turkish tea served in a tulip shaped glass, admire and sample the piles of Turkish delight, stand in awe and watch a woman weave an intricate design into a tree of life rug.
Istanbul is a living museum, so just dive in!