1. To visit the only capital spanning two continents – which is seriously cool – and the crossing over the Bosphorus isn’t bad either:
2. To stay in an old-city hostel (finding out about the hidden cameras too late), waking up with calls to prayer not long enough after going to bed, to belly dance in said hostel and make friends you’ll keep in touch with for years:
3. Because the skyline looks great in silhouette (as do the people):
4. Because of the sheer magnitude of the man-made beauty found not only in famous landmarks like the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, but around every corner:
5. For the shops, the lights, the light shops and the shops full of lights:
6. Because the already magical place becomes a Euro-Eastern age-old grown-up fairy tale at dusk:
7. To buy a carpet. And to be asked by many, many carpet sellers if you’re on honeymoon. They don’t believe you’re not, and you know, you really really do need a carpet for your new home… which lies at the end of two long haul flights:
8. The food is cheap and awesome (if you’ve got no idea what Turkish food is, think Greek with an eastern twist, on steroids) and made by this guy who wouldn’t stop posing whenever we glanced at him – meet the Stud of Sultanahmet!