Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


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Exploring Istanbul | Part One

*Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, relax, and settle in…this is a long one!*

I know I have been putting up a lot of travel posts recently (ahem…5 on Vienna alone!), but with the absolutely amazing travels I’ve been blessed with the past few months…I can’t help it! Because Istanbul is so fresh in my mind, I am going to tackle it first and then finally get around to posting about our AMAZING cruise a few months ago (where does the time go?!). Vince and I don’t have anything major planned for the next few months, just a few trips here and there in Bulgaria (and possibly a weekend trip to Greece if we can afford it), so expect more varied posts coming up.

Alrighty…Let’s talk Istanbul!

Blue Mosque
Istanbul is a surprising city. It’s likely not what most people would expect. While it is heavily influenced by the Muslim faith; everyone seems to live in relative harmony, no matter their religious beliefs. Simply standing in one spot and thinking about all the world changing events that occurred there is, at times, overwhelming. Istanbul is right up there with Rome and Athens when it comes to sheer historical significance. The city itself is sparkling clean (in most areas) and seems to be very safe. I don’t know why these two things surprised me, but they did. It does still have that gritty feel that huge cities inevitably take on over time–and that makes it even more appealing and interesting. The juxtaposition of old (we’re talking ancient, here!) and new is nearly seamless. Based on the look and feel of Istanbul alone, it is hard to believe that Turkey is not yet a member of the EU. I hate to admit it, but in many respects it seems to deserve membership more than Bulgaria. The differences in the border facilities alone are staggering. One definitely knows when they have crossed over from run-down, litter-strewn Bulgaria into shining new and tidy Turkey.

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Home from Istanbul

Sultanahmet Square

Hello there!

I’m home from five lovely days and four hot nights (our hotel room was positively sweltering) in Istanbul. My friend and I took a night bus there and back from Bulgaria and it was interesting to say the least!
Whirling DervishView of the Blue Mosque from our hotelBasilica Cisterns

It was an incredible trip and I can’t wait to share more about it with you all.

For now, however, a few snapshots will have to do. My friend is only in Bulgaria for a few more days and we have a lot of ground to cover!

Gorgeous sunset over the Sea of MarmaraInterior of Hagia SophiaRays of Sun at Hagia Sophia

Hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

Talk to you soon!

W.

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