Published: August 19th 2012August 17th 2012
My flight involved a 15hour stopover in Istanbul and I was sooo excited! Absolutely gutted that I couldn't spend more time there but so excited to finally beable to visit the city across two continents. My flight arrived shortly after 5pm and left just after 9 in the morning so I wasn't going to be over ambious but I wanted to visit the Blue Mosque and Turkish Baths. I had booked a hostel close by the Blue Mosque and was hoping it would only take me an hour to get there, mmm. Clearing immigration in Istanbul takes a while!! Then I thought the directions were pretty clear on how to get from the airport to the hostel but they missed to important things out! So I finally arrived around 730.
After quickly checking in I rushed over to see the Blue Mosque before sunset and WOW it is beautiful and because in was Ramadam all the locals were out with their families having Turkish style picnics, completely 100% worth the visit! I wasn't able to go into the mosque as it was prayer time but even from the outside it was so beautiful especially when it was lit up after
dark. Just across from the Blue Mosque is Hagia Sophia which is just as spectacular! There are beautiful water fountains around and food stalls and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, I only wish I had more time to enjoy the atmosphere and beauty of it all. And of course the smells! they make me just want to eat and eat.
It was then time to try and find some Turkish baths to visit, most are open til around midnight which is great as I really didn't have so much time. After checking at the hostel they booked me one including an oil massage for 85tl, expensive but a treat and something I really wanted to do and as I was only there for such a short time a must. I was already 9 and the womens part closed at 11, they said they would pick me up in about 20mins but it was Turkish time and actually took 45mins when I could have walked it in under 10! The actual bath experience was great although a little rushed. First we took a Turkish shower, basically pouring buckets of hot water over you before heading into the sauna. I
was probably not in the sauna for 5minutes when someone came into get me for my massage as I was the only one having an oil massage. First they did the peel, basically scrubbing you so that all your skin that can come of does followed by a scrub which is where you get covered in lots of bubbles, soap and water and have it massaged into you, very relaxing. Then it was time to wash it all off with another 'shower', followed by an oil massage. This was pretty much the same as the scrub but with oil and took a little longer, then my hair was washed and the oil from my skin before jumping into the cool pool to relax a little more! Arr sometimes a just love my life. It was great and just what my skin needed and so relaxing after a chaotic day. They then dropped us back off at our accomadation.
I had wanted to get up, watch the sunrise and then head to the airport but there was a shuttle bus that picked me up from the guesthouse and took me to the airport and I would not make my flight
if I watched sunrise, the alternative was to make my own way there but I didn't want to miss my flight in order to watch sunrise so took the shuttle option. Istanbul airport must have the worlds most and slowest queues! But I had time and had a 10hour flight ahead of me bound for Guangzhou followed by another to Guilin.
There are more photos below