The Leidener

A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Turkey: Lost in Bliss (Part 1)

If you want to stay away from the cold and gloomy European winter, one of the many great options is to travel to Turkey. I mean, it’s still can be just as cold, but you will be soaked in a different kind of cold and what matters the most is that you will be cold in a totally different surroundings. Turkey is a country that fascinates. Especially when you become bored of seeing the same sceneries all over again: castles, bridges, museums… Turkey will bring to you an entirely new travel experience. I can say that ever since I came here I traveled to a lot of places but till now the only place that I want to go back and will be willing to go back is Turkey. There is so much to see and so much to learn from their interesting cultures and I felt like I would have to stay there more than a week to grasp all the beauties of it. It is quite convenient to travel to Turkey as well, especially for those who have a “not very powerful” passport like I do 😛 All I needed to do was to apply for the visa online here, paid 45$ and pack my bag!

So last summer was my first time to Turkey, I spent one whole week altogether in Istanbul, Pamukkale and Cappadocia. It was really beyond expectations. They say Turkey is the bridge between Europe and Asia, but for me the Asian feel is much stronger, perhaps that was why I was so fascinated by the country. It’s like, home but not home. Living in Europe for a couple of months I was already accustomed to the calmness and serenity of Leiden, and above all the fact that there are not always many people on the street. Then you could imagine Turkey, especially Istanbul, will be such a culture shock. I mean, there are people everywhere! The roads are constantly blocked with loads and loads of cars. And you will hear noise, a lot of noises. Noise of people talking, noise of car horning, noise of street vendors trying to sell things to you, noise of flocks of tourists speaking different languages. And there’s the dust, the heat, the suffocating air. Strange as it may seem, I actually enjoyed all of it. It touched my heart. For a Vietnamese like me, this feels so much like home. So throughout the trip, I was really excited most of the time. It’s been a while, so let’s get down my memory lane with the helps of pictures 🙂 First off, Istanbul!

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A typical day in Istanbul.

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You don’t go to Turkey without eating the original kebab! It tastes great, that’s no doubt. But the thing is you’ve probably eaten a lot of kebabs throughout any of your European trips T_T My friends and I actually got quite sick of eating nothing but kebabs almost everyday. At least for me there’s not much of a variety in Turkish food.

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Definitely a highlight of Istanbul: the Grand Bazaar! I normally don’t ever shop while I travel but I seriously can’t remember how much money I spent in here. Everything’s so interesting and attractive! The fun thing about this giant complex is that sellers are all male. And they surely know how to talk, so feel free to bargain but be careful not to fall for their sweet words 😛

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The Blue Mosque, one of the main attractions. Be prepared to nestle through a lot of tourists. You can enter in certain time slots of the day, and bring your own scarf to cover your hair and legs if necessary. They will lent you for free but if I prefer to use my own 😛

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Tea! Drink some tea! Buy some tea! Turkish tea is wonderful and smells heavenly. It was so difficult to choose which type to buy but the gentleman at the tea both in the Grand Bazaar recommended us the relax tea and it was really nice!

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Just a few of the stuffs that I bought in Istanbul, excluding my sunglasses and camera of course. Quite cool for photos right 😀

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We were in Istanbul during their fasting period, so it was really interesting to see how everyone’s so lifeless during the day and suddenly when the sun’s down you will see people doing picnic and partying everywhere!

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Turkish coffee, I think it would not suit everyone’s taste. But it was really fun sitting in the walkway like this and enjoy a cup of coffee and tea. We have exactly the same coffee culture in Vietnam!

About Phuong@theleidener

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This entry was posted on November 9, 2015 by in Travel.
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