After dumping our bags in the hostel, we hurriedly changed into crisp, dry clothes. Thankfully it had stopped raining and after saying a quick 'thank you' to the rain gods, we set out to explore the beautiful city of Istanbul.
Formerly known as Constantinople and before that Byzantium, present-day Istanbul is the perfect blend of conservative and contemporary. Its beauty lies in its ability to wholeheartedly embrace contradictions. This is the land where Islam meets Christianity and Asia meets Europe – fantastic collision of the East and West, a result of which is a vibrant city full of character and intriguing stories.
Apart from the obvious beauty of Istanbul, what struck us most was how sweet and trusting the locals were. This is the part where I have to mention we were left a tad flustered by the brazen yet innocent advances of some Turkish men, who were nowhere close to being even remotely shy! My friend and I, unfamiliar with such forwardness couldn't help but blush every time a tall, dark exotic looking local attempted to charm us – and boy did they! We eventually figured out, it was their way of being friendly, hospitable and flirtatious, all at once!
Anyway, before I digress again, let's talk about what makes Istanbul one of the most remarkable places in the world and why you should visit and, most importantly, where you should go!