27 July 2013

Babymooning in Istanbul

My husband had some time off last month between finishing school and returning to work, so we took the opportunity to visit one of my all-time favourite cities: Istanbul! 

Sunrise over the Blue Mosque

It was probably one of our last chances to get away just the two of us before baby, so we wanted to make the most of it. We
loved it. It was breathtakingly beautiful and SO much fun and so spiritually uplifting too. 

This was my second time in Istanbul (the first was a mother-daughter trip just before I got married :) and I love everything about the city – the eastern charm & tradition mixed with western comforts, the little cobblestone streets and alleyways, the skyline sprinkled with towering minarets, and most especially the people. Their hospitality was unlike anything I’ve experienced as a tourist before. I can’t count the number of apple teas I was offered (or how many I actually drank :), and more than once we ended up spending hours with people we just asked for directions. Everyone was just so sincerely warm - other than one unfortunate encounter with pickpockets!

By far the best part for us was the spiritual energy of the city. The mosques were incredible, some of the most magnificent I’ve ever seen, but more than that were the prayers and dhikr and recitation of Quran that filled them. There were too many sacred sites & relics for us to possibly visit in one week, but everywhere we did go was packed full of locals and foreigners alike making ziyarah. It was indescribably beautiful :) 

Suleymaniye Mosque

Eyup Sultan Mosque
Blue Mosque interior and courtyard

And of course I found bits of design inspiration everywhere I looked! Between the grand architecture of the mosques and palaces and the gorgeous ceramics and textiles lining the street shops I was in design heaven :) 

Our fave little shop in the Grand Bazaar

I indulged my love of blue and white in a few bowls and vases, plus a huge tile set that I can’t wait to put together! My other mini-splurge was a small Turkish kilim – haven’t found a home for it yet but I’m thinking of turning it into a wall hanging.  

It was the perfect mix of spiritual retreat and touristy fun, with a little dusting of romance for good measure :) Not to mention the incredible cuisine – my growing bump fell in complete love with iskander kabob! Here's hoping we can go back again someday soon, with baby!