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Travel treasures: Istanbul in winter

I have been giving a couple of trainings in Istanbul a couple of weeks ago and was lucky enough to spend a little extra time in a city that has been on my wish list for a long long time. I’ve visited this captivating city around 20 years ago the last time, and the only thing I remember was this restaurant overseeing the Boshporus, still one of the nicest places I have been until now. Sadly, I don’t have any name or address from these days. But Istnabul is full of fantastic spots, and I had really good food these days.


The first impression I had came when strolling along the Galata bridge crossing the Golden Horn where fishers would try their luck. What you see in the background is the Süleymaniye Mosque, the one I liked most during our visit. On the golden boats fish is fried and offered in a sandwich. We tried one but it was not the best in town I’m afraid (too much dry bread, to little fish).

Suleymaniye Mosque

The inside of the Ottoman Süleymaniye Mosque is jaw dropping with  Islamic and Byzantine architectural elements, and was much nicer in my opinion than the popular tourist attraction  Sultan Ahmed Mosque (or Blue Mosque), much cleaner and very calm, too. We got there by mistake and were really lucky!

Suleymaniye Mosque

These spots are occupied for ritual washings (feet, hands, forearms and face)  before formal prayer. It’s looks so peaceful on the image.


This is the view from the backyard of the mosque and my favorite picture of this trip. I plan to  frame it, just have to think still where to hang it. What you see here is a view over the Bosphorus on the right and the Galata bridge. The right side of the river would be the Asian part of Istanbul.


There is so much to see. When you have done your must-see program (I did not a lot) and do not have much time, going somehow with the flow, is just the best I’d recommend. Isn’t that kiosk stunning? It almost hurts observing all the bold packaging and branding stacked up on the ancient ledge.


You find artisan and handcrafted articles everywhere. Shop owners are very aware of the many tourists in search of a original gift to bring with or buyers who shop on the different bazars. And that’s what we did.


I just wanted an Ikat cushion pillow, I promise …but ended up with hand loomed peshmatals (originally bath towels which depending on the design serve for different proposals. I’ll use them on the beach), lamb fur, raw silk foulards and sweets. Glad I had my large suitcase with me this time because I like to travel very light.

It’s been really chilly, a hot tea served on the street felt good. I would like to visit Istanbul again but during a warmer season. It must be a totally different feeling during summer. I imagine the city more colorful and greener.

This is one entrance to the tiled kiosk museum belonging to the Archeological Museums. You’ll find tiles and pottery here dating from the 11-20th centuries.


And then there was this café. The first morning when visiting the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, we were late and grabbed a taxi to get downtown as soon as possible passing by this enchanting spot. I so much wanted to make the taxi driver stop and at least get a picture of this place but it was just a “now you see it, now you don’t”. The last day we took the tram and guess what I discovered again at the final stop in Kabatas?

If you’ve come directly on the blog today, don’t miss this little video we been filming of Istanbul with a gorgeous view over the Bosphorus!

How about some extra inspiration?

15 Responses

  1. Stunning! I’ve always wanted to go to Istanbul. I would love to bring back some unusual beauties for my home. You are so lucky! Thanks for sharing x

  2. Such beautiful photos Gudy! I’m so glad you got some time to explore this beautiful city. I think it’s been 15 years since I was there (!) but still Turkey would have to be one of my most favorite destinations. Next time I’m there I better watch my wallet too I think – lucky the last time I was back packing. M xx

    1. I’d love to see another fantastic post of yours after the one from Prague. Your take is always most beautiful, Rincy! xx

  3. Such an inspiring collection of images, Gudy. The blue tiles at the entrance to the Archeological Museum really caught my eye and that kiosk is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing your travels with us!

  4. Very nice pictures…Instanbul is also very high on my travel-to-do-list :)
    Unfortunately I am mostly travelling to German-speaking countries like tomorrow to Zuerich..
    Saludos, Sarah

  5. Beautiful pictures Gudy … It is just like being there with you. There is a beautiful word in French describing how this town looks, “délabré” (sort of “run down”) as if the glorious past didn’t want to leave place to the uncertain present. I look forward for your next journey :-) Have a lovely day i.

  6. I don’t think that any city stole my heart as much as Istanbul did.. the East meets West, the colours, the tiles and architecture, the whole vibe.. the souks, the people!

    Beautiful images. I’m glad you’re framing one of them. It is stunning and that Kiosk.. let’s say no more.

    Thank you for the inspiration xx

  7. Me encanta, me encanta, me chifla! Que fotos tan espectaculares! Que colores, que luz, esos oros, esa arquitectura!
    Que recuerdos! Mi hermano estuvo viviendo en Estambul y lo fui a visitar variats veces.
    Esas fotos son magia pura.


  8. I would love to visit Istanbul one day! Your pictures were wonderful, the tiling of the entrance at the Archaeological Museum is beautiful. xD

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