Middle East

Middle EastTurkey

Istanbul

Istanbul-7

From Indonesia our next stop was Croatia to meet up with our friend Chelsey. We chose to brave a 37-hour flight with layovers in both Malaysia and Turkey. Since we flew Turkish Airlines and our layover in Istanbul was more than 6 hours, we were able to do a free tour of the city! Jetlagged and groggy since neither of us slept on the overnight leg from Malaysia, we crammed onto a tour bus and set off into the city. We had a quick breakfast of cheese, bread, a hard-boiled egg, and some veggies, and then went to visit The Blue Mosque. It was impressive to see but we were a little bummed out since a lot of it was under construction. After walking through, we went past the Hagia Sofia, another of Turkey’s most famous buildings and one of the seven wonders of the medieval world. Built in 532, the Hagia Sofia was first a Christian cathedral then later converted to a mosque in 1453 and is now a museum. We didn’t get the chance to venture inside, but instead went onward to Topkapi Palace. We went through various areas, marveling at the architecture all around us. We ended with a traditional lunch nearby, with a view overlooking the Bosporus strait. Istanbul is the only city on earth that spans two continents; we stayed on the European side and had views of the Asian side. Even though we only spent a few hours in Istanbul, we really liked the city and our free tour definitely did its job, as we would love to return one day.