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Istanbul and beyond
Celebrating the best of Istanbul and beyond in pictures
Before I arrived in Istanbul I knew I was in for a treat. Anytime I visit a culture that is as boisterous and lively as my Latino culture, I feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. Though there were many things that felt familiar to me, there also were many other things that were totally new discoveries.
I walked around Istanbul with eyes wide open, hungry to hear the stories of those I met along the way. What I found both saddening and enlightening was that the Turkish people are very aware of the preconceptions that they thought I, as an American, might have of them. They wanted to make sure that I walked away from every experience with a deeper understanding of their culture, religions, and people.
So often when I walked around, I found people fascinated by the fact that I was from America. I often found myself approached by teens and kids wanting to practice their English with me. Locals were curious about where I was from. I found this warm reception humbling. I also was embarrassed that we Americans rarely extend this kind of warmth the other way around. The experience was a great reminder of the lessons we can learn about others through travel. I opened up myself wholeheartedly to these encounters and feel like I walked away a fuller person because of them.
During my time in Istanbul, I stayed at the Renaissance Istanbul Bosphorus Hotel. The property is located in the European side of Istanbul, and many of its rooms overlook the gorgeous Bosphorus Strait that divides the European and Asian sides of the country. The hotel was close to a lot of the big city attractions I wanted to explore, such as the beautiful monuments and the lively markets and bazaars. I got to people-watch and enjoy some great food.
One of my favorite moments on the ground in Istanbul was when I got to go beyond the city and tour the ruins of Euphesus in the coastal town of Kusadasi. In my opinion, the mellower Turkish experiences allowed best for quiet moments of reflection.
Through these images I hope to bring to you a flavor of what my time in Istanbul was like. My hope is that the pictures will inspire you to visit and get to know the beautiful people of Turkey.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque
Sunset cruise along the Bosphorus Strait
Taking in the spice market
The Grand Bazaar
House of the Virgin Mary
Basilica of St. John
Escape to the beach
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