For our honeymoon in 2012, Farmboy and I headed Greece to spend our first few days as a married couple. It was a wonderful holiday. We had a 6 hour layover in Turkey, and being the we-must-make-the-most-of-every-second-we-are-in-another-country kind of people that we are, instead of making a beeline for the only cafe open at 5am, we headed out the doors of the airport to explore Turkey.
Thank goodness South Africans don't need a visa as we had done no research on Turkey and this was our first time leaving the airport during a layover. In other words, we really had no idea if we would be allowed back in time to make our connecting flight to Athens. But, being adventurers at heart, we made it back in one piece and had an incredible few early morning hours exploring Istanbul.
What was saw in those few hours was really beautiful and we wished we had had a few days to really explore the country. As much beauty as there was, there were rather too many eyes looking me up and down and making me feel uncomfortable, even at 6 in the morning. I didn't know this before, but Turkey is an Islamic country, and so even though I was dressed rather conservatively, my head was exposed thereby drawing rather a lot of unwanted attention. If you, like me, don't feel comfortable with so much deliberate staring, then pack a light scarf to wrap around your head. I didn't take any offense to the looks, it is a cultural element of the country, we deal with cultural differences a lot in South Korea too, and you learn pretty quickly that people aren't being judgmental or rude, as humans we show interest in the unknown and the different. We become like little children who can't help themselves but stare and try our best to work out why people are doing something different to what we do.
I hope you enjoy the photographs. If you have any recommendations on places to go in Turkey, please drop me a comment below. Farmboy and I really want to head back there in the future.