When we visited Istanbul recently, we couldn't help but notice the vibrant energy of this fascinating city. Crowded, a bit noisy, but extremely interesting. A place where History is alive, you can almost feel it. You go from one century into the next without a warning.
We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, near the entrance of the Topkapi Palace. This particular hotel is a former prison---believe it or not---although you would never guess the luxurious rooms were cells in a previous life. We were facing Saint Sofia, and were often intrigued by this phenomenal symbol of faith and beauty.
A visit to the Grand Bazaar was de rigueur and it took us most of the day. A really overwhelming experience, even if the goods were mostly occidental we found a few authentic stores (Abdulla is one of them, selling towels, robes and everything for the hammam experience). Another store full of treasures is Murat Hashas, they sell the best fabrics and cushions ever.
After a couple of days enjoying the warm weather and the great food, we took off to Bodrum.
But that is another story.