I have always been a savvy traveller trying to get the most out of my money, so when the opportunity arose to do exactly that I jumped at the chance. During my recent visit to Lebanon I realised if I had a longer layover it would make my flight cheaper. Me, being the opportunist I am, extended my layover to 12 hours in the turkish capital. And so began my 12 hours in Istanbul.
After careful deliberation I decided I would arrive around 8am into Attark airport. As I was nearing the end of my journey and being just general poor overall I opted to get on public transport to get into the main parts of the city. Having no luggage or screaming children to look after I went over to the metro.After a good 5 minutes of trying to figure out how to actually get a ticker and 3 trains later I arrived at Sultanhammet. It was quite a pleasant journey as you get to see the outskirts of the city and locals, which most tourist wouldn’t get to experience. As I arrived into the central part of the city I immediatly headed for the iconic blue mosque and it was defintaly majestic to say the least. To fully appericaite the beauty and stunning desgin of the mosque you have to be in the square outside it which attaches to the Haga Sofia. It is amazing to see such a popular and well known landmark up close and personal.
Having only around 6 hours to see the best of Istanbul, minus the getting there and back pus some lounging time, I decided to wander around the sites which where free. I started with the mosque where I went in and around the mosque grounds. Being up close to it was quite amazing and you never truly know how big this is until you are there in person. I was quite surprised at how small the inside was though, it only consisted of a small rectangular room with a beautifully high ceiling. I feel it has a labyrinth element to it where there’s more rooms hiding away somewhere. I had a quick spot of lunch at one of the stalls just near the mosque, I must admit I was sort of dragged into it by one of the vendors. But I did want a local delicacy, the kebab, this combined with the street view made it quite a nice spot for an afternoon snack.
The best part must have been the rooftop bar I managed to get into with the most beautiful 360 view of the city. It was a hotel as you walked out away from the mosque area. I ended up spending a few hours just relaxing here with a fresh ice cold milkshake for company and this amazing view. I finished the day with a wander around the open markets and a train ride back to the airport
I wanted to experience Istanbul but also leave enough that I would be able to having something to do when I returned. So if you’re ever having a layover and should circumstance permit extend it and have a wonder. As they say when life gives you lemons, extend your layover and go see a new city.