the sultan’s seduction: a layover in Istanbul.

The sommelier and I woke early for our stay in Babylon, climbing into a famous black cab for the short drive to Heathrow. Over the past few weeks we had spent more time together than since we’ve met, and it showed in our renewed love for each other, subtle touch and glances, and our increased capacity for the individualities that define us.


After a short flight to Paris, and the innocuous passport control of France, we made our way through a detailed maze of escalators to our departure gate.


A three hour flight to Turkey, and we arrived in Constantinople…


Checking in to a modern hotel, provided by Turkish airlines due to a forced layover, we took advantage of the long, hot, steamy shower our room provided.


Since our night was becoming increasingly shorter, we hired a cab to Sultanahmet right away, and give in to the seductions of this ancient land.

Stone walls of the old city stood crumbling on the side of the ocean drive, surrounded by row houses, twinkle lighted restaurants, and sounds of beeping taxis.


After avoiding scammers in the palace square, we began to hear the lyrical calls to prayer, and immediately knew we were in a different world. One where time stops at several intervals a day, all citizens know the direction of East, and life moves slow, but at a bright pace.


The intricate details of the Blue Mosque painted memories in my soul; inlays of gold circling my senses and arousing my mind.


Dusk began to fade as we walked the short distance to Hagia Sofia. Enamored by her beauty, we stopped and stared at the pink hues of the now secularist museum. Having had so many lovers, from Orthodox to Catholic to Islam, it was easy to see why, as her seductive tones become less muted as the sky fell.


Wandering through the streets, we found ourselves in front of a delicate eatery, where we dined on fresh Mediterranean catch, turkish meatballs, and cheese pastries.


The most divine baklava in the history of the world adorned our plates, drops of honey slowly streaming down our fingers, before being cleaned by our warm lips.


Strolling back to the main plaza, we again caught sight of the Blue Mosque. Opposite Sofia, the grandeur of the thick walls of the former sultan’s palace displayed strength and veracity, a masculinity of force and will. Standing between the two ancient relics, it was easy to surmise why the people of the land had such depth in character.


Fingers intertwined, we tackled traffic back to our hotel, and slept well for our trip back home. Dreams of sultans invaded our minds. We awoke with anxiety and urgency to see our daughter. After all, reality was knocking on our door.

Until tomorrow… Serefe.



20 thoughts

  1. I was supposed to go to Turkey for a school trip last year but it was switched to other European countries because of the riots, so I love the pictures and descriptions you have here! They tell me what I missed, but in a beautiful way.

  2. Lyrical and beautiful blend of photos and words–now I actually want to visit Turkey! I’ll have to settle for Mesa Verde and hot dogs over a campfire instead ;).

  3. I love Turkey, Istanbul, Hagia Sophia…and especially the food! Sounds like you made the most out of your layover.

  4. Sounds like you made the most of your layover in Turkey. I’ve never been, but how you describe it is exactly how I imagine it. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler! See you next week :)

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