Istanbul – It’s All in the Details

News of a transatlantic move. Three weeks until blast off. Husband suggests trip so no regrets later. To-do list with pressing matters examined. Guilt ensues. Friend agrees to go. Tickets booked. To-do list thrown out window. Istanbul… here we come.

That was the extent of my disjointed thought process before going to Istanbul. With very little time left on my Dubai watch, I squeezed this one in, barely.

When I think of Istanbul, I think of the rise and fall of powerful empires. I think of sweeping views and majestic landmarks. I think of Europe and Asia meeting in one place – each staking its claim and imposing its culture on the people of the city. Larger than life. So when I came home to look at my pictures, I was really surprised by how many I had of little details. It’s the kind of city where you can spend a lot of time on countless rooftop cafes and restaurants, marveling at the rich history of the city below and wondering about the future of the 14 million people who call Istanbul home. But while walking around on the streets, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and become mesmerized by the beautiful little details that surround you. Another less romantic theory is that I didn’t have three children tagging along distracting me and could actually notice a pretty faucet. 🙂

Here are some of those little pretty touches and quiet moments I found in grand and chaotic Istanbul.


turkish coffee and turkish delight

Turkish coffee and Turkish delight. Yum.

A detail of ceiling in Hagia Sophia

A detail of ceiling in Hagia Sophia

pillars Hagia Sophia

detail of pillars in Hagia Sophia

Istanbul faucet

turkish soap

soap for sale

street sign Beyoglu

Street sign in Beyoglu neighborhood

Istanbul doorway


Topkapi Palace

door topkapi palace

Door Topkapi Palace

tile Topkapi Palace

tile Topkapi Palace

Harem, Topkapi Palace

Harem, Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace

Topkapi palace

Topkapi palace


door Blue Mosque

door Blue Mosque

black and white istanbul





carpet and tea Istanbul


About Lynda

Longhorns and Camels is a blog about exploring Dubai from the perspective of an expat from Texas. It features stories about living in Dubai including descriptions of local culture and popular activities in the region. It also includes photography of the UAE and other countries abroad. It has been recommended by several well-known guides for expatriates: InterNations, ExpatWoman and Expat Focus.
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21 Responses to Istanbul – It’s All in the Details

  1. NanaBread says:

    I didn’t know what to expect from Istanbul, but I fell in love the first day. So much history and beauty, and the people were fantastically friendly and inviting. We stayed in the Old Town just 2 blocks from the Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque, so your photos brought back many warm memories. That tea! My kingdom for a cup of that tea again. Best of luck with the move! -jeanne

    • Lynda says:

      Hi Jeanne – great to hear from you! The people are something else, aren’t they? So nice! We met some real characters. I remember your pretty pictures and thinking how much i wanted to go. Thanks for your message.

  2. Beautiful post, thank you for sharing and transport me back to Istanbul 🙂

  3. Mitzie Mee says:

    Wonderful pictures! My husband worked in Istanbul for more than a year and I really loved that city! He had an apartment at the Asian side, which is quite different from the European side, but just as vibrant. Wonderful people, wonderful food, I’m really longing back now:)

    • Lynda says:

      Oh how lucky! It’s definitely the kind of city where you need a substantial amount of time to really get to know it and explore everything it has to offer. So true – the people and food are amazing!

  4. Dalia H. Linssen says:

    Love the pictures! So much patterned color and luscious detail. You’ll have to tell me more about that trip. I had forgotten you snuck that in!

  5. It’s fifty years to the month since our one and only visit to Istanbul and the Topkapi (sp!) Palace. By the way, there was a great movie called “Topkapi”, with Peter Ustinov as the idiot Arthur. Well worth seeing, for the views. (Yes, I realise it was probably filmed in Hollywood, but never mind.) Did you get by in English, Lynda? Way back then, we had to use our school French with the educated Turks we met. Thanks for reviving the memories!

    • Lynda says:

      I’m blushing, and not in a good way! ack – I hate making mistakes like that! But thanks for pointing it out – will correct the spelling. 🙂 Great to hear from you Gordon. Will check out the movie. You know what, we were surprised that we were able to get by in English. Wasn’t a problem at all actually. Of course, I tried to at least say thank you in Turkish, but it’s such a difficult language, isn’t it? I’m ashamed to admit I had problems even remembering that one word!

  6. You can read so much of details from any place. These does say Turkey to me – and the images are beautiful.

  7. You’ve captured so many wonderful details of one of my favorite cities, Lynda. Thanks for taking me back; I haven’t been to Istanbul since 2010, and I adored every minute of it. 🙂

  8. Julia says:

    Awesome post Lynda. These photographs are amazing! What restaurant have you had the best Turkish delight? Remember to add it to your Besty List!

  9. Diana says:

    Of course my favorite pics were of the carpet guys! 🙂

    • Lynda says:

      Those carpet guys were a hoot. They eventually became much more interested in my tall blond Swedish/Finnish friend than selling us carpets which made it very easy to leave and not get too tangled up in the whole carpet negotiation thing. 🙂

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