Just got back today from a 4-day trip to Istanbul with my mom. She turned 60 earlier this month and this was my birthday present to her. She knew we would be going away for a few days but she didn't know where we would be going up until we arrived at the airport on Monday morning :)

I really enjoyed our trip. We stayed at a small hotel near the Topkapi Palace. It was simple, but ideally located in a quaint neighbourhood near all the major sights.

We had a busy couple of days but managed to do most of the things on our wish list. Amongst other things, we visited the Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazar, Grand Bazar, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern, and took the ferry across the Bosporus to Asia enjoying nice views of the city's skyline. We were also extremely lucky with the weather: despite predictions of rain, it was mostly sunny during our entire stay.

My goal this year is to take a trip every quarter. It can be long, it can be short; it can be far away, it can be close by: as long as I get to go away for a while. And even though it's still March,  I've decided this qualifies as the 2nd-quarter-trip after my vacation to Egypt in January :)
Two down, two more to go!

Some of my favorite pics:

Our destination finally revealed at Schiphol Airport :-)

Mystical atmosphere underground at the Basilica Cistern.

Foggy silhouette of the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia from the ferry.

At the Turkish restaurant (2nd night)

Blue Mosque (a.k.a. Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

Interior of the Aya Sofia.

Aya Sofia by night.

Spice Bazar

Stray cat testing wares at the Grand Bazar...

Interior at the Topkapi Palace.

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