making friends on my first night in istanbul before my parents arrived. hearing the call to prayer resound in the streets several times a day. visiting the blue mosque and ayasofya. seeing the beautiful tiles in the harem and the rose gardens of topkapi palace. shopping at the grand bazaar and takism square and buying tea from the spice markets. haggling with confidence after getting some experience in egypt. friendly dogs and cats everywhere in the streets. my mum waking up from a two hour nap thinking she’d slept the whole night through. crossing over the bosphorus bridge and visiting the asian side – one of the only places in the world where one city spans across two continents (europe and asia). seeing the medusa’s heads in the basilica cistern. eating testi kebab, cooked in a clay pot and cracked open in front of me by the waiter. seeing donduma (traditional turkish ice cream) being stretched out, and eating it of course. apple tea served at the end of most meals (it tastes just like hot apple juice). street carts selling hot chestnuts and grilled corn. several visits to hafiz mostafa who has been in business since 1864. i can personally recommend the coconut, hazelnut, almond and pistachio baklavas and the little fruit tarts.