I fell in love with Istanbul from the moment we arrived. As sunrise began to illuminate the city, we were treated to beautiful melodies of Muslim prayer. The words hung in the air as we whizzed past ancient mosques on the way to The Park Hyatt Istanbul. Our Spa King suite was the perfect oasis in the heart of the bustling city. It included a traditional Turkish bath, deep-set tub, and a giant rain shower. I soaked away the long flight and then lounged in our own personal steam room. I felt rejuvenated and ready to explore the city.
The chaotic streets were littered with people. Pushcarts full of Kebabs, corn-on-the-cob, and aromatic roasted chestnuts permeated the air with an intoxicating smell. One of our first stops in Old Town was The Grand Bazaar; I had been looking forward to this moment and was reeling with excitement! It did not disappoint, it was a complete sensory overload. A maze of walkways led us past countless vendors. Some had carpets piled to the ceiling while others were overflowing with soft glowing Turkish lamps. I never wanted to leave the bazaar; it was a complete sensory overload. While sipping on piping-hot apple tea and talking with shop owners, I found the most incredible treasures.
We exited the Grand Bazaar and walked down the busy streets towards the Spice Market. The first thing that struck me was the sea of color that was displayed with such immaculate care. Each spice was meticulously molded into a perfect cone-shaped mound. Stalls full to the brim with fresh baklava and delicately decorated Turkish delights tantalized my taste buds as we perused the bustling market.
Roof top restaurants are everywhere in Old Town and are quite a welcome reprieve. A beautiful stillness and sanctuary amongst the hectic streets can be found just by walking into an unsuspecting doorway and heading upward. The birds-eye view really gives a sense of scale and showcases the incredible views of the city’s sites. There is no better way to end the day than sipping on a glass of local wine and watching the sun paint the sky as it slowly slips below the horizon over the Bosphorus Straight.