Explored the sights, sounds and smells of Istanbul

BY BRIGITTE HILLS - JUNE 18, 2018

Now, I know how Turkish delight got its name. It doesn’t only pertain to the delicious dessert, but everything that makes Istanbul such a sweet delight.

When my friends suggested a trip to Istanbul earlier this year, I jumped at it. It has been one of the places I have always wanted to visit, but in my early 20’s, I was denied a visa. (Girls travelling alone are often at high risk).

Finally, in April, my dream came true and boy, did it deliver!

This vibrant melting pot of culture predating the Ottoman period has the Anatolia (Asian part) and Thrace (European part), so it truly excites all the senses – especially sight, sound and smell.

The mix of awe-inspiring architecture, smells of aromatic spices, perfumes and coffee mingle with the ‘call to pray’ and tram bells.

That’s before you reach the Grande Bazaar for a spot of shopping. And did we shop! Naturally, we girls went crazy for the jewellery, shoes, bags, scarves etc… I could go on forever. When it came to interior goods, I had a field day with the fabrics.

Richly woven silks and linens in ikat designs as well as depicting animals (peacocks and deer), fruit such as pomegranate, dates and pineapple and flowers (tulips, roses, hyacinths etc), I got treated to a lesson on carpets (what to look for and the history and customs of weaving).

They showed me how they weave them on the old looms still to this day.

This is a dying art that is handed down from generation to generation and I learnt one carpet can take two years to manufacture depending on the size and design intricacy. Once you have seen the skill involved, you truly understand the value of one of these treasures.

Istanbul is most certainly one to add to your bucket list!

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