If it wasn’t clear from my posts, my surname or the name of my blog.. I’m Bosnian. Bosna is a largely islamic country that I’ve had the pleasure of living in and calling myself a part of despite the tragedies that occurred during Srebrenica. And while it’s getting more attention and attracting people from around the globe, I feel it’s still largely neglected compared to other Islamic countries. But having Bosna as one of my homes has always made me want to see what other islamic countries were like.
^The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.
One of the reasons I was dying to visit Istanbul is because I know Turkey is built on years of rich history. Istanbul was formerly know as Constantinople and there’s so much to learn about the Ottoman Empire. Turkish people take pride in their religion and culture, and what I really appreciate and respect is that many of them are less or unaffected by the worlds increase in abundance and utilization of technology. For me, in a world where pride is often overpowered by consumerism and getting ahead, knowing places like Turkey exist whose individuals remain unique and untouched by social media reinstills my faith in humanity.
^the streets and corners of Istanbul, filled with the most adorable, colorful cafes and delicious, fresh made local food.
This city is unique to the rest of the world because Istanbul itself lies in both Europe and Asia, so I can now say I was in 2 continents in 1 day.😄* I spent about 4 days of my 3 weeks in Europe in the Sultanahmet Old City of Turkey, and each day was filled with kindness, amazing food, and an atmosphere of calmness and serenity that should be experienced by everyone. Part of me wonders of I had a more heartfelt, cathartic experience here since I can relate to many of the countries morals, values and practices. I even met a ton of Bosnians, which is so rare in any country aside from Bosna. The locals are very intelligent so of you think you can go to the bazaar and getting away with speaking other languages, be careful, there’s always someone who understands what you’re saying; this is one of the many things on the list that separates Istanbul from other areas.
^you’ll run into plenty of interesting people in Istanbul! Especially at the bazaar, and the men are very charming.
Another aspect I noticed about Istanbul was how simultaneously packed and calm it was. It was like walking down the streets of a busy US city with all the crowds and none of the noise. There are also stray animals all over the place. I’m a huge animal lover so it was a little sad to see, but most people give them enough food that they seem taken care of. I really wanted to go for a morning run but apparently the stray animals chase you**.
This place had so many unique characteristics that set it apart from any other country I’ve visited. I learned so much about the way of life here by getting a feel for the atmosphere and talking to the locals. And seriously, the food was to die for. Most of the food was halal which made no difference to me because I’m pescatarian, but that’s certainly not a common thing in the states.
^This is a giant, blown up piece of bread.
^I grew up eating baklava so I was SUPER happy to see this everywhere!!
^our view of the Blue Mosque at dinner.
The mosques were what made my experience in Istanbul extra special. The peacefulness and beautiful architecture can’t be captured in a photo, but I’ll save talking about this for next time!
* This is extra exciting because I have now seen 4 of the worlds 7 continents, only 6 of which I care about.❄☃️
** I just want to take a minute to point out that I am not, in fact, a weenie, and remind everyone that I went skydiving in Australia if you didn’t already know.. which you didn’t, because that post is coming. I digress.