I think it would be fair to say that my time was split equally between wandering around the touristy spots and celebrating my friend Emma's 21st birthday (one of those celebrations which lasts roughly a week).
I never realised how large Istanbul is, one of the largest cities in the world and it definitely feels like that with how wide spread it is. With this in mind it makes sense that it can change so much from one part to another, with the highly traditional side to the far more westernised areas.
The Blue Mosque is beautiful but I felt it was so strange to be walking around peoples place of worship with everyone wearing makeshift head scarfs and skirts to cover themselves up.
The interior of the Hagia Sofia.
The Spice Bazaar was just so overwhelming with choice!
Having a traditional kofta dish, doesn't look like much but tasted delicious.
So then there was the other half of my trip, which let's be honest, was the reason I wasn't up at the crack of dawn every day going sight seeing. We spent a fair amount of our time enjoying Istanbul's extensive nightlife. The second night we were there we went to a club called Sortie which was right on the Bosphorus so had amazing views of the water...
I was also lucky enough to have friends who by luck had made friends in rather high places, so we had no problems with getting in anywhere and also got the odd perk here and there...!
Sortie was definitely a lot of fun. Apparently if it isn't too busy a night it's not that tough to get in, especially for groups of girls (as per usual...). I can imagine in the summer it would be scores better seeing as you'd be able to stand outside and enjoy the view without feeling like your extremities were about to fall off, even after a few drinks!
My last night in Istanbul was where the real birthday fun began to kick in. We went to a club called Masquerade and Emma certainly felt very much the queen of the club! Masquarade had a much more upbeat atmosphere, although this may have had something to do with us going on hip-hop night where everyone was dancing the night away.
The birthday girl herself loving life!
Seeing as clubs in Istanbul don't seem to close until 4am earliest, it is safe to say there were a few big nights had! It was so lovely to see my friends who I hadn't seen for ages and getting to explore Istanbul was a lovely plus!