As I make my way from the airport into the city, enjoying the warm breeze blowing through the window, I wonder how Istanbul had spent quite so long on my list of places to visit and am excited to finally be making this long-overdue trip. I leave my things in the hotel and head straight for the Bosphorus, to take a little walk along the water’s edge. It’s not long before I reach the spice market (Misir Carsisi), where there’s an entrance, somewhat hidden, to the Rüstem Pasha Mosque. In contrast to the larger, more famous buildings featured in every guidebook, this smaller mosque allows much more space for calmful rest and contemplation: inside, I am completely alone.
For lunch, I head over to Limonlu Bahçe. Sitting in the beautifully planted courtyard, I am treated to delicious, light Turkish cuisine and fabulous homemade lemonade.
I walk around the area a little and find many pretty shops, such as the 290 sqm store and Müz Botanik Cafe, which sells very good cold brew coffee as well as a big variety of beautiful plants. I adore plants and would love to make a wholesale order, but since I’m travelling with hand luggage only, my shopping bag doesn’t fill up quite as much as I would have liked!
After a whole day on my feet, I yearn for something relaxing, and what could be better than spending time up on the roof terrace of the newly opened Soho House Istanbul? The view up here is unbelievable, and I take in the sunset over the Bosphorus with a delicious cocktail in my hand (in my case: Pina Colada, a personal rediscovery). For dinner, I move down one floor to the hotel’s own restaurant. Here, too, you can sit in the open air, illuminated by beautiful fairy lights, and round off the day perfectly with excellent food and in good company.