It’s good to have no expectations when you’re traveling, and to be honest, with the amount of time I’ve spent on planes recently, I really haven’t had any down time to plan out each trip.

What usually happens is that I get on the plane, put some music in my headphones and wait and see what happens.

What happened this time around in Istanbul has been complete and utter fascination on my part.

… By the beauty of the city, its lights and scents, by the kindness of everyone (amazing)(no, really, amazing!)(I’ve never received so many invitations to dinner!!!), by the mix of the traditional and extreme modernity that touched me so much that I couldn’t help but start crying when I heard the sounds of the prayers that pervade each day. I’m sure I looked pretty silly, seeing as everyone is so used to the daily chants and don’t really even hear them anymore. But I’m just like that, when it’s just too beautiful, BAM! I start crying.

Even if I’m in the middle of eating a Turkish cheese dessert (bizarrely good) and the prayers start, there I go, crying again. Reminds me of my grandmother. And then I’m stuck wondering why my dessert is all salty.

But what hits me most about Istanbul is the women. The women, and the fashion as well.

Ok. I’m going to seem even more silly than when I cried all over my dessert, but I swear that when I first stepped of the plane, one of the first things I said was, “Oh my god, this V neck sweater is way too deep! Do I have to cover up in this sweltering heat?”

I got my response right away. All around me in the airport, so many beautiful girls, sexy and free, smiling, relaxed and that wouldn’t bat an eye at any kind of passerby.

No need to cover up, silly.

Istanbul is of the most breathtaking modernity. All you have to do is look at the tons of fashion magazines. The last of which that came out was Vogue. And it’s darn good, and it’s showing some of the most way too deep necklines.

Istanbul is of the most breathtaking modernity. All you have to do is look at the cafés, the streets packed day and night with guys and girls walking freely.

Istanbul is a breathtaking city where the past and the present live together in peace…

With a backdrop to cry for.

Big hugs!

Translation: Tim Sullivan