Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Istanbul - the Jewel in the Mediterranean Crown

There is one place in the Mediterranean that stands out above all others for me and that is Istanbul.  I first visited there in my teens (rather too many years ago than I care to remember!) and was entranced by it's exotic vibe - where East meets West.  The mighty Bosphorus divides the city where trade and tourist boats jostle for space and impressive mosques have their minarets jutting up into the sky, including the impressive Blue Mosque, the only one in the world with six minarets.

I heard from Love Chic Living that Cunard are running a special competition focusing on their Mediterranean destinations and knew instantly that I would be writing about Istanbul and the fabulous memories that it evoked.

I put together this Pinterest board that brings together the highlights of visiting Istanbul and some interior design features that could easily be incorporated into your house and garden.

Follow Rose T's board Istanbul - Magic from the Mediterranean on Pinterest.

It was important for me to include the incredibly beautiful mosques on my board - they are one of the enduring memories of my trip and whilst many other Mediterranean destinations have faded from my mind, I still remember these (and their stunning interiors) vividly.

Another memory that I wanted to include on my board is the large use of blue in Turkish interior design, from the beautiful intricately detailed tiles to the amulets used to keep the evil eye at bay and gorgeous glass lanterns (the latter being perfect for lighting an outdoor eating area).

I remember visiting the bustling Grand Bazaar and getting lost amongst its many lanes and rows, marvelling at the brightly coloured bowls, fabrics, lanterns and ephemera on offer.  I was only there for a short time and in my teens wasn't particularly interested in finding chic pieces to bring home to furnish my living spaces, but NOW, gosh, that would be a different matter!  I think I could spend days in there just browsing and enjoying the sweet tea offered by the vendors whilst haggling for bargains.  Just look at the brightly coloured slippers, rugs, bowls etc that could be slipped into your suitcase and enjoyed back at home.

I love the food in Istanbul - meze (small plates of delicious morsels) is my favourite way of eating and the flavours from the herbs and spices used are incredible.

Finally, I had to include a pin of a Turkish Bath.  The whole experience of being washed and pummeled by a slightly overweight Turkish man is one that will stay with me forever but my goodness, I felt good afterwards! Those I have tried outside of Istanbul have been mere pretenders - go and experience the real thing.

One thing is for sure, now I have written this blog post and created my Pinterest board, I REALLY want to go back to Istanbul again so I'm off to check out whether I can cruise with Cunard from Istanbul, now that WOULD be perfect!

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