..was one of the best day I had in Turkey.
One of the lesson I learned from my trip to Tokyo and Kyoto last year was simple: give yourself time to sit down at one corner, feel the ambiance and surrounding, breathe easy, and forget about destination. As mentioned that I had no itinerary when I was in Turkey, it gave me more spaces and options how I could enjoy my day. On my first day in hostel, I took an hour to do a small research and decided where was the best place to visit the day after.
Day two was when I headed to Sultanahmed area. I sat on the bench and enjoyed the view of the park in front of Hagia Sofia before strolling around Sirkeci, Grand Bazaar, and an afternoon treat at Hafidz Mustafa. I headed back to Hagia Sofia (though I didn’t enter cause I read the best time to visit is 9am) but I entered to one of the most beautiful sacred place nearby, instead.
There, I found some magical moments. The echo of call prayer from the mosque was magical. The architecture of the mosque was magical. And the thing I loved the most that day was an accidental friendship I found inside the mosque. I honestly love unpredictable moment just jumped up like that while I traveled. Magnifique, as French says.
“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
I’m pretty sure you guys know the sentence above is one of the basic rules in life. If you do not ask for something, you’ll always have no as an answer. That exactly what I had in mind when I was inside Sultan Ahmed mosque.
Right after Asr prayer, I was still admiring the beauty of the mosque with a camera in my hand, typical tourist. Taking some pictures while my mind thought about every details on those fascinating domes. Five minutes after, I dropped my camera and what I wanted to do was recording the moment in my brain till there was a whisper knocked my mind, “take one with yourself in the picture.”
If you ask me, I’m more like BTS person when I’m traveling. I do prefer to photograph the objects/people than seeing myself in the picture. But I said like, “come on, you are in Turkey, just do what you want to do. Having one with yourself in isn’t a bad idea, nah? even just one.” I stood from the floor after I saw a gentleman stood too. The whisper was sounded louder than before,“if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”
I had a fickle heart to ask to someone who I saw was busy taking picture. I bet you will think the same like what I thought then. If you are a solo traveler, you’ll prefer to ask somebody who looks like traveling alone. When I saw Safoine stood with his smart phone, I asked him if he could help me with my camera. The first time I gave my camera, he handed over to a gentleman that was standing in front of us, which I later knew his name is Hakan. Saf said Hakan could take photograph better. I offered them to have some photos from my camera after Hakan took myself twice. After that moment, we introduced ourselves. I never felt such a welcome acquaintance like what I had with Hakan and Saf before. It was warm, gracious, and genuine.
We left the mosque together and headed to somewhere near Galata bridge for sunset, with interesting conversations in between. Enjoying the late afternoon just before the golden hour will always be one of my happiness. And enjoying it with a view of Bosphorus strait, cool spring breeze, shrieking seagulls, and two new pleasant friends like Hakan Akansel and Safoine Adel, could be one the best happiness I won’t forget on my second day in Istanbul. Don’t judge me if I had to take some photos of them that day cause everything was so perfect.
Thank you to the internet nowadays for making everything easier. I connected to Hakan after we exchanged our WhatsApp numbers before he and Saf went back to their hotel. We met again for a dinner at Mom’s Corner Istanbul as suggested by Hakan (he’s Turkish by blood and a real foodie anyway, so we just need to follow him for the best places in Istanbul). A cozy beautiful evening at a restaurant with strong elements, authentic Turkish food, a warm conversation
with InstaStories plus Snapchats and our new friendship.
We were walking to İstiklal Avenue after dinner (gosh, it was such an exercise walking on uphill road in the evening!), passed Galata Tower, took scopes of ice cream and ended by chilling at Taksim Square.
I want to share some fun facts on my second day :)
- I had 4 different interviews kind-of from some pupils around Hagia Sofia. They were having an English assignment and had to find somebody who could be asked some questions in English and recorded. The last one was when they stopped me, Hakan and Saf with the same purpose. Kinda funny yet interesting
- I have to admit that most time I could be so garish when I meet someone new. When Hakan and Saf said they landed in the morning on the same day we met, flew from Paris, and they speak French, I said “I hate you guys”. Excusez-moi, call me garish and I don’t care
- It was so fun I could record our dinner scene and posted on my Instagram Stories that day, I felt so cool you know :D (this is beyond garish I know)
- An iPhone selfie we took together above was the better photo than the one Bangladesh man took from my camera. I did wish he could take the photo perfectly but a picture of myself with closed eyes was like “WHYYY?”
- Hakan is so much better taking selfie photo rather than me. Most time I always shake holding an iPhone for a selfie
- I just knew that croissant means crescent moon in English. I heard Hakan said “our meeting point is where that croissant is”, when he pointed the moon shape on one Turkish flag. I thought Hakan was jested for a real “croissant” after I told him and Saf that I’m a croissant lover
- I met with Ali Murad, originally from Cyprus that works and lives in Qatar when I was waiting for Hakan & Saf before we went for a dinner. He was on a business trip in Istanbul and asked me if I could join him to the club in Taksim. I told him that I had an appointment with Hakan and Saf, he said “you can ask them to join later” ((oops! maybe next time Ali! :P three of us do not drink!). We became friends after exchanged WhatsApp number, the last time I spoke with him on the phone when he heard that I lost my wallet in Istanbul
Next post is when I thought was one of the most memorable day I had with still, Hakan and Saf.