11:35 am — We are in Istanbul, Turkey. Waiting for our baggage to arrive. And I can
see a sea of people come and go. Looking at them, I cannot figure out whether they’re English/Europeans/Arabs. They all look like very eager tourists. All of them ready to discover this mystical land, just like the both of us. From a land far, far away.

2:30 pm — we’ve checked into our hotel. Our first concern is free wifi. Hubby needs to check in on facebook. And I need to brag about our special “couple time” on what’s app besties group. Ironical.

3:30 pm — Showered and perfumed, we are ready to hit the Istanbul streets. The air is cold and crisp. And I can smell Nutella! There! A street food vendor is roasting sesame bread and serving it with Nutella! Chocolate is one thing that unites the world.

4:15 pm — Blue mosque is heavenly. The iznic tiles look mesmerising. We’re sitting atop a Turkish restaurant, sipping their local wine while watching the glorious sunset which makes the Blue Mosque look all the more ethereal.

5: ish — We’re on our last few crumbs of the almond-shaped Turkish pizza, (yes, their pizzas are not round), when we hear the evening prayers. “Allah” resonates throughout the city, and we are lost in the deep, baritone voice of the maulvi. It is then that we realise the magic of this mystical land. This is where East meets west and blends in so beautifully. This is where whirling Sufi dervishes and rooftop clubs coexist. This is where the Prophet and Mother Mary are worshipped under one roof.
Istanbul is both familiar and foreign at the same time! This is what makes it truly special. This is where worlds collide and history and modernity synchronise.

11:20 pm — Hubby is snoring. Too much history does this to him. I’m deep in thought. I will come back to this beautiful city. Not just for its rich history and culture, but also for its succulent kebabs and luscious honeyed baklavas!