1. Istanbul is such a mix of everything good and bad you can think of. Culture, tradition, art, history, modernism, crowd, food, contrasts, religion and much more. It strongly reminds me of Mumbai, with a stronger flavor of Islamism and cleaner. The kind of city you love and hate in the same time.
2. I will be honest: I was afraid to make this travel to Turkey after the past months’ safety threats. As my friend well said “Ana, we live here and our life goes on, as much as we are alive that much you’ll also be”, it felt safe, maybe I saw more policemen than usual and life seemed to follow its pace. Still I felt stronger heart beats in Taksim, city’s main square, the most eventful spot in town and many unpleasant thoughts run through my mind when passing by it. I also tried avoiding very crowded-touristic places.
3. Big cities really get to change its people – more rush, more traffic, more concrete life. It is unbelievable that it took me up to 3 hours from landing to entering my friends’ home, moving from European side to Asian side of Istanbul. Returning I was suggested to travel by sea and it was way faster and quite exciting (taking a boat to go to the airport, sounded almost not serious to me but it was very enjoyable – tourist, sorry :)-)
4. Turks are proud of their heritage, history, traditions, culture, cuisine, folk, natural richness and everything around their country. It is a genuine proud and a pleasant way of getting themselves presented to the world. It makes you like them even more.
5. I went to Bodrum and nearby seaside resorts and I was literally blown away of the simplicity, local flavor, attention to details and stunning surroundings. I loved this kind of seaside tourism with no kitsch touristic places. And the water has a beautiful palette of blue shades and there is such a big variety of colorful flowers.
6. I was told before and knew it myself as well, but let me reiterate – Turkish are one of the most friendly and hospitable people in the world.
7. Sea coast and continental Turkey are 2 different worlds. Not to mention East Turkey.
8. Being a relationships driven society, almost everything is based on networks, relatives and how well you get along with people.
9. Youth unemployment rate is at 20% which is worrying. This may drive a higher rate of Turks going abroad.
10. As almost anywhere else, people are not very happy with the government, its policies and changes imposed. A new Bosphorus Canal is being planned, a new bridge, a new airport planned to be the biggest in the world; Istanbul becoming even bigger than the 19 million inhabitants it has.
11. After almost 6 months of winter+very shy spring in Poland, the weather was delicious!
12. There are cats everywhere, it feels like a cat paradise which of course I loved.
Did I enjoy my stay in Turkey? At the level that I am already thinking of the next visit. I spent 10 days there in May 2016 & of course you shouldn’t listen to anyone and just go: it’s an amazing country & the people are the most welcoming in the world.