“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartine

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Over the past few days one question kept popping into my head: “Why is it so hard for me to write about my short trip to Istanbul?”
I guess the answer to this is easier than I thought; because it was just that: a short trip.

I’ve tried writing about this countless times and I have a couple of unfinished drafts saved. I had some ideas on how to approach this trip but in the end I found that nothing felt right.
I might go back to those posts later but for now, here’s a short glimpse into two days in Istanbul (not Constantinople).

While I’ve been able to see most of the major sights and get a great first impression of the cities atmosphere, I feel like I couldn’t quite get the essence of this city.
Did we try to do too much in a short time? Maybe. However, we also managed to sit for a while and drink tea while overlooking the Bosphorus. We ate mussels with rice from a street vendor, we had baklava and a lot of other typically turkish, or eastern european dishes. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I cannot recommend Istanbul for a city trip enough.
It’s a pleasant and fascinating mix of Asian chaos and European structure.
We’ve been ripped off, but we’ve also experienced immense kindness by the locals. We ate great traditional food as well as things we didn’t quite enjoy. We sipped on tea, coffee and freshly pressed juice. We sat in the sun and we got rained on. It’s amazing how much you can do, how much can happen in just two short days!

One of the main things that stood out for me on this trip was that I entered it with an incredibly open attitude towards food. I said “YES!” to everything.
This lead to so many fun situations – and while some of the things might not have been something I’d have ordered at home, or even in Istanbul had I gone there with a different mentality, I ended up enjoying it a lot. Sometimes because it was truly spectacular but sometimes just because the act of trying something new, of tasting something different was just so much fun!
I have yet to find the time to sort through the pictures I took with my Canon, until then, I’ll leave these here.
If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen them all before, I apologise.

(I also apologise in advance for my tile obsession. Istanbul’s tile game is strong and I cannot get enough of them!)

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The Packing Game

As much as I preach that people don’t need much while traveling, I can’t seem to be able to follow my own advice.
I think it’s time to confess that I’m a notorious over-packer. I don’t intend to be, I swear. I try to explain it away by saying “I like to be prepared!” or “I just don’t want to be cold!” (Really, I don’t!) but in some way I still always end up with more clothes, shoes and toiletries than I really need.

I’m in Istanbul until Sunday and I really am trying to pack as little as possible.
However, even for pyjamas I’ve packed a pair of pants, a short-sleeved and a long-sleeved shirt. This might be dumb, the T-shirt might be more than enough. But then I think back to that hotel in London. It was April and quite warm during the day but at night I was freezing and slowly running out of layers to wear. So the long-sleeved shirt has to stay. I guess you can see where this is going.

I feel like I’m getting better at packing each time I do it and I still end up with at least one or two shirts I never even touched. How’s that even possible?

In the end, my mum always told me that there are only three things you ever really need:  your phone, your passport and money.
If you have these things you can get everything else if you need to. This is a rule I’ve lived by ever since I started traveling on my own.