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x0x Travel Europe: Six things in -- Istanbul

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    x0x Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul By Amy Laughinghouse Special to the Star Although you ll never have
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2013
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      x0x Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul

      Travel Europe: Six things in … Istanbul


      By Amy Laughinghouse Special to the Star


      http://www.TurkRadio.us

      Although you'll never have time to tour every historically significant building in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque is particularly worthwhile. Some come to admire the intricately detailed architecture. For others, it's a religious icon.



      ISTANBUL, TURKEY—Been there. Done that. Bought the rug. That’s what I thought, after a two-day stopover on a cruise four years ago.

      Yet so many people rave about Istanbul, I wondered if they were simply smokin’ from a different hookah, or if perhaps I had missed something during my whirlwind tour of the “must see” sites: the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Dolmabahce Palace. It was architectural overload, like staring at the sun. If I had been invited to gaze upon one more mosaic, however beautiful, I thought I might bleed from my eyes.

      Don’t get me wrong. Istanbul’s wonders are worth visiting, particularly the Blue Mosque, as it’s not only stunning; it’s also an important religious centre where worshipers pray five times a day.

      But for the most part, the de rigueur list barely scratches the surface of what I had come to suspect might be the true spirit of this city, where residents respect their history, but live, love, work, dance, play and party in the present.

      So I went back. I slowed down. I took time to meet the people and learn how the locals spend their days, and their nights. What I discovered is that this isn’t a city you should try to “do” in two days. Take a week. Take a walk and wander, and let Istanbul weave its web around you.

      Get high

      If you’ve ever seen Midnight Express, you’ll know I’m not suggesting a dalliance with drugs, unless you fancy an extended stay in a Turkish prison.

      To fully appreciate the scope of this city — from the spiny minarets that punctuate the treetops to the cascade of blocky mid-rises that tumble down the hillsides like Lego-built lava — you need to poke your head in the clouds.

      Savour the view from Gaja Restaurant and rooftop bar, atop Swissotel The Bosphorus, or book a room at the adjacent Swissotel Living — chic apartments you can rent by the night, where guests can relax beside a rooftop infinity-edge pool overlooking the strait.

      swissotel.com, Bayildim Cad. No:2 Macka, Besiktas, Tel: +90 212 326 1100. Main courses from 45 TL ($24); Swissotel Living rooms from about $562.

      Take a cruise

      Read the rest at http://www.thestar.com/life/travel/2012/10/23/travel_europe_six_things_in_istanbul.html

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