Never thought it was possible? Think again. Istanbul is the place for you my friend.
As the largest city in Turkey, this Eurasian beauty is the historical heart of the country. With mosques and churches alike, this is the epicenter of where Europe and Asia, modern and classical, East and West, meet.
Arriving early on in the day, I made sure to take a nap. From the taxi ride leaving the airport, I knew the hills would kill me otherwise. Walking down the hill is fun with a great view. Walking up is not so fun (although great exercise), but there's still a great view.
Heading towards the Galata Bridge, I got lost. As I was trying to figure out where I was, I came across a tower with a huge line. Intrigued, I waited with the others. The thought ran across my mind to ask where the line lead to, but I suppressed my curiosity. To most this would seem foolish, to me it was an adventure. Why did I have to know where I was going? I could figure it out in due time.
Amazed at my surroundings, and wondering what the hell I was doing standing in a random line, I continued to wait patiently. My views as I waited:
I love the picture above because it so perfectly describes Istanbul. When you think of the Middle East, the first couple thoughts might include a woman in a burka. True, as seen above. What might catch you off guard was the fact that she was on her iPhone tweeting. She was shocked that people would find it odd. The perfect mixture of culturally classical and technologically forward.
All I can say is that it was delicious. There is no better fruit than fresh fruit from a random cart on your lost adventure. Pretty much anything in a cart is a good idea. It's always well worth the risk! He was also the kindest watermelon man (the only) I have ever met.
As the line moved forward I was getting anxious. What exactly was I waiting for? Oh yeah, I have no idea. Typical WanderlustWad.
After seeing people pull out money, I decided I had to investigate. I couldn't continue going with this flow of mine when money was involved. After talking to the amused cashier, I found out I was at Galata Tower. I paid the $10 fee and headed upwards to see what the fuss was about.
The Galata Tower was the tallest structure in Istanbul when it was built. It has a 360 view of the city and is breathtaking to say the least. As it turns out that the stars had aligned for me. I had come at golden hour, and and was able to get the most beautiful pictures.
Standing in a random line paid off. I had no idea where I was going, but I knew it would be an interesting experience regardless.
Galata Tower: $10
Random Adventure: Priceless
Random adventures always pay off, always. Sure they can seem daunting, but not knowing is part of the fun. The anticipation, the waiting, the fear, it's all in the package of adventure.
Soon after leaving the Galata Tower, I saw where I strayed off and headed towards my original goal, the Galata Bridge. Thankfully the hills were going downwards this time.
Wandering through the streets, I couldn't get over how lovely this place was. Each street a small community of its own. Shop owners, tourists, and residents alike flooded the cobblestone walkways. It feels so homey.
Steps away from my destination I grabbed a $1.50 gyro. I love it here already. I ate my gyro as I watched the rest of the sunset. All alone and extremely content.
Walking around afterwards, fisherman waited patiently to get ahold of something, couples held hands, shops hustled and bustled right below the bridge. I wanted nothing more than to come back every single day and watch the sun ascend and descend. And so I will...until I leave that is.
All in all, it was an extremely successful first day. Stay tuned to find out where my adventures lead me tomorrow!
What random adventure did you run into? Let me know in the comments below!