Approximately a 7 hour drive from Istanbul into Central Turkey, Pamukkale is a wonder that doesn’t disappoint.
The mountain landscape is formed by calcium carbonate, giving it a chalky, alien-like appearance and texture. Warm spring pools are at every step of the climb and visitors must be barefoot to preserve its natural state. With my boots tied together and hanging around my neck I was able to journey up the hill for a handful of shots.
Captured with Fujifilm X100T
Locals in the Sultanahmet/Fatih district will tell you there’s not much by way of good hangouts or nightlife (most of that’s true) on their side, but Balat is the exception.
A short bus ride from one of the main transfer stations in Istanbul proper you’ll find the buzzing, hip area that’s home to some of the best food and drink in the entire city. And umbrellas. Lots and lots of umbrellas.
The small cafes are usually packed, even during weekday afternoons. But, hanging around long enough I was able to try the much-recommended pide at Forno, along with their amazing lentil soup.
My time in Istanbul began in Sultanahmet, the noticeably older and less progressive side of the city that is home to centuries old mosques Hagia Sophia and the Sultan Ahmed (The Blue Mosque), and others.
The area vibrates with rich history and a scent of charcoal and chai mix in the air as you traverse the cobblestone streets. Calls to prayer ring out from minarets five times a day, bouncing across the region’s seven hills.
It was here that I realized that my initial plan to only spend a handful of days in the city would turn into a full, month-long stay.