Istanbul, Turkey

I stayed in Istanbul from October to December in 2015, and was not bothered by any political conflict because Istanbul is located so far west in Turkey, so I recommend going here even if you are a little scared, because the sights and the experience is well-worth the visit. 

Istanbul has a sense of nostalgia, being part of the Ottoman Empire, and a historical city in many ways. Separated by the Bosphorous, there is a Europe side and an Asia side. Visit Istanbul to see its bazaars, especially the Grand Bazaar, the old city with is palace and mosques, Golden Horn, and the seaside.

Below, some photos from my own trip, although I am sure you will take many from yours.

The Bosphorous


The Bolu mountains

Yet, Istanbul is Istanbul, and it’s a beautiful city with plenty of magic. For romantic idealists, they practically wrote the book in Istanbul — go anywhere and you’ll learn of beautifully sad tales of princes and lovelorn ladies who were destined to love apart from one another. Or so it seemed.

I immediately fell, grudgingly, in love with Istanbul, the moment I was able to explore on my own. The Hagia Sophia stands directly across from the Sultan Ahmet (the Blue Mosque), and the majesty of the blue tiles inside, called iznek tiles, made my heart stop for just a few beats. I loved walking around on my own through the streets, which were reminiscent of Cairo’s, but vastly different. The sellers of Turkish delight and other typical Turkish wares, the music, the restaurants everywhere, Turkish coffee, Turkish tea — I loved them all.

The Blue Mosque

Because I was there working, however, in Istanbul, I didn’t get so much chance to explore, but on the weekends I would take the metro and wander around Taksim, Golden Horn, or my favorite, the Old Town where the Blue Mosque was.

Because of a show I did for L’Oreal Paris, I was flown to Cyprus, along with 10-12 other models from various agencies, for a few nights. I got to walk around a little bit, but most of the time, we were rehearsing in a grand hotel and casino called Cratos Hotel & Casino, where the show took place. Afterwards we had to stay for photographs for some magazine to show off the people who were at the party.

The view from my room in Maslak


Flag of Istanbul waving in the breeze

Orhan Pamuk’s books capture the sense of Istanbul’s nostalgia perfectly, for it’s truly a world empire that’s crumbling and decaying.

Market fruits on the street

I am glad I got the opportunity to go to Istanbul. The beauty of the old-world city I experienced there, and the people I met, truly changed my life yet again.

More photos from Istanbul:
In front of the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet
Turkish lamps in a shop in Golden Horn
More Turkish lamps
Standing underneath the Turkish lamps
Walking in Taksim
Turkish delights sold by a street vendor
Embroidered pillows, rugs, hats, and souvenirs in a shop near the Hagia Sopia
The Iznik tiles inside the Blue Mosque, the Sultanahmet
View of Halig, Golden Horn, from the train as it stopped at the station
View of the Blue Mosque from the outside
After a photoshoot at Atolye Gri studio with head photographer Bora Balbey
Cty of Istanbul at night from a tower rooftop
The fountain in the square between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque

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