Friday, May 29, 2015

Travel Diaries. Turkey: Istanbul and Oludeniz


If you follow me on social media you probably know that I am on vacation, for the past week my Instagram has been all about my travels rather than make-up and new beauty launches and I took a break from my beauty blogging routine and make-up testing, little to no time spent in the mirror and focused solely on keeping my skin happy and protected from the sun.
This past week my boyfriend and I hoped on a plane and visited Turkey, the first stop was Istanbul and then we headed down south to Oludeniz, a lovely village by the Mediterranean Sea with the most incredible beach and turquoise waters I have ever seen. First things first... you need a visa to enter Turkey. You can easily get one once landed in the airport or purchase one online.

Istanbul took me by surprise, I have a hard time trying to find the right words to describe it, words that can capture and translate the energy this city has. In the four days we spend there we made sure we did a bit of everything, visited the main attractions such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Dolmabahce Palace, Topkapi Palace, Chora Church, the Galata Tower and such. I did my research and listened to tons of Rick Steves podcasts and documentaries so I made sure I had an idea of the history and background of each place. You can also take a guided tour like we did in the Dolmabahce Palace, these places are incredible to look at but get so much more amazing once you hear the story behind each one, the incredible and rich history that surrounds you everywhere you go.
We stayed a few blocks away from Istiklal street, the main shopping artery. Here you will find tons of stores like Zara, Mango,Nike, Mavi Jeans and the like; the street really comes to life at night when it fills up with tourists, street food merchants and artists. We loved going in and out the streets adjacent Istiklar and browsing the little boutiques, having tea and coffee at the many cafes and shopping around for places to eat at the hundreds of bistros and restaurants that extend their terasses onto the streets. We used AirBnB and found a great little apartment in a quiet neighborhood. There are little shops that sell fresh produce, fruits, nuts and incredible dairy at every corner along with bakeries and grocery markets. It's so easy to eat fresh local food and interact with the small merchants this way. The transportation system is great and affordable but we chose to walk most of the time, I liked getting lost in the little streets and discovering shops, boutiques and checking out the architecture of the buildings. I loved going to the markets, or the bazaars, as the locals call it. The Spice Market is a great place to pick up well, spices, along with real Turkish Delight, nuts and teas. The market extends onto adjacent streets where merchants are grouped by what they sell, one area will have clothing, another area scarves, another one decor items and so on. The Grand Bazaar is an iconic place worth visiting on its on but it now extends well beyond the old building. You can find anything in this place, and I mean anything. Tons of fake stuff, from purses to clothing, spices, food... you name it, they have it. It's really easy to get overwhelmed by the place and all the merchants trying to lure you in; make sure you negotiate the prices, you will always be able to bring it down significantly. Also, beware of those merchants that ask you where you are from before quoting you prices... I really wanted to get a little souvenir to bring home and given the many jewelry shops and affordable prices I figured I buy myself some bling but I got so overwhelmed by the selection I ended up leaving empty handed. I happened to stumble upon a merchant selling some great antique authentic silver jewelry just outside the Bazaar (as you walk towards the tramway) and manage to get some really cool pieces for such a bargain. I liked the guy so much I went back the second day and got some more stuff from him. His name is Muzaffer Kilia, go look for him if you are in the Bazaar.
Overall,  Istanbul is an incredible city, with great architecture, an amazing history, delicious food and awesome people; everybody works hard and there is a sens e of nationalism I have yet to experience in any other country, the portrait of their first president, Ataturk, the founder of the republic of Turkey is everywhere and people speak so fondly of him to this day it moved me. I won't go on and on but I really think we have a lot to learn from this great country, from the secularism there to the merchants and how hard everyone works, young and old.


View from the Galata Bridge


Galata Tower



The Blue Mosque






Hagia Sophia






Inside the Harem at the Topkapi Palace









The Dolmabahce Palace
The inside is spectacular, but we couldn't take pictures











The Spice Market and the Grand Bazaar

















Muzaffer, the guys with the best silver jewlery. 
He has all unique, antique pieces.
You'll find him outside the Grand Bazaar 





Streets of Istanbul





Istiklal Street 



Make-up stores in Istanbul









The little flat we stayed in was  awesome
Very clean, great hosts, close to Istiklal street





Next we headed down South to Oludeniz, a small village half and hour away from Fethye. Once again we used AirBnB and we found a lovely little chalet 3 km away from the village where we happened to have the most amazing beach all to ourselves. I honestly would advise you limit your time in the tourist areas of the city and take advantage of  the nature here, go hiking, go swimming in the crystal clear water, spend your evening on the beach, look at the sky, take it all on in... it's breathtaking. I wasn't impressed with the restaurants in Oludeniz, they seemed very tourist oriented and to me that was a turn off. I mean, who comes to Turkey to eat Chinese food and french fries? Our host , Erdogan, actually cooked us traditional turkish food and we were so excited to get to taste the local flavours and fresh ingredients. I strongly recommend you check out his place if you an authentic experience when visiting Oludeniz. Him and his wife are such warm, welcoming people; I enjoyed staying in their little chalets (which he built himself) and their food was beyond amazing. Their place is called Kidrak Motel.















The little chalets we stayed in 


I know this post was different but I figured I share with everyone my travels. If you have any questions about my experience in Turkey, makeup you can find there, foods and places to try leave me a comment below. 

2 comments:

  1. Turkey is very high on my travel wishlist! The water at Oludeniz looks incredible - so clear & blue! Sounds like you had an incredible time, thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. I am glad you enjoyed my post. Turkey is such a great place, I loved every minute of it. Oludeniz blew me away

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