After a long 16-year, the prospect of reuniting with an old friend, Mustafa, set the tone for a day full of adventure, suspense, and humour. Today proved an unforgettable day after navigating through the bustling streets of Istanbul, filled with cultural landmarks, and a heartfelt reunion with a Turkish family friend after more than 16 years.

 The journey begins: a Turkish breakfast and the quest for the bus stop

Our day began in the cozy confines of our modest kitchen, which was buzzing with morning activities. Preparing a Turkish breakfast became a joyful ballet of evading each other as we boiled eggs, sliced cheese, and toasted bread. The tableau resembled a live-action Tetris game, which provided a light-hearted tone for the day.

With our tummies full and spirits high, we set out on our first mission: find the nearest bus station. Without a local SIM card and poor Turkish, we relied on screenshots from Google Maps to transform ourselves into urban explorers.

 Navigating Istanbul: From Smooth Rides to Minor Missteps

On paper, the journey to Mustafa’s home on the outskirts of Sultanahmet appeared simple: a bus to Karakoy, then a metro ride to Serkezi, where Mustafa had arranged for a guide to bring us the rest of the way. However, the reality was slightly more complicated. Our easy bus travel turned into a comical error when we got lost in the vast Serkezi train station and waited for over an hour in the wrong spot.

The lack of a SIM card added to the excitement, since we were unable to reach our guide. Fortunately, he contacted us via my UK number, amused by our blunder, and told us to meet him at Laleli station. This time, we successfully navigated the metro and met our guide, who guided us through Istanbul’s maze-like alleys to Mustafa’s apartment with a mix of relief and frustration.

 A Heartwarming Reunion

Arriving in Mustafa’s house seemed like entering a scene from the past. His wife greeted us cheerfully, and her appearance changed only with time. Mustafa, who arrived later, was frailer and had an eye impairment, but his spirit remained as strong as I remembered. The reunion was unreal; the years flew by as old memories poured back, accompanied by a feast that delighted our taste senses and warmed our hearts.

Exploring SultanAhmet: A Night Under the Lights of Aya Sofiya

After the reunion, Mustafa, despite his restrictions, guided us through Sultanahmet’s crowded streets. The neighbourhood was bustling with tourists, the air smelt of kebabs, and the sounds of loud music filled the air, producing an incredible sensory assault.

Visiting Aya Sofia at night was a delight. The absence of daytime crowds allowed us to get a more intimate experience with the towering building. The peaceful atmosphere, combined with our prayers inside, provided a moment of spiritual renewal amidst the historical grandeur.

The Adventure Continues: Lost and Found in Istanbul at Night

As the night passed, we confronted a new challenge: getting back to our accommodation after public transport had stopped. The streets, which had been so familiar during the day, now appeared to be a maze illuminated by street lamps. Local tea cafes and shisha bars became our destinations, with individuals eager to assist and guide us with their phones.

Conclusion: Lessons Learned, Memories Made

Finally, after what seemed like an unending journey, we discovered our flat. Collapsing inside, we couldn’t help but giggle at our mistakes throughout the day. It was a day full of unexpected twists and turns, demonstrating that travel is about more than just the destination.

Our reunion with Mustafa was about more than just renewing old connections; it was also about celebrating the spontaneity of travel, the goodwill of strangers, and the grandeur of old places. Stay tuned for more stories from Istanbul, and don’t forget to like, subscribe, and click the bell button to receive updates on our trips. Until next time, keep exploring and being interested!

This blog seeks to convey the essence of a day full of warmth, misadventure, and the delight of meeting with an old friend. It serves as a reminder that the most memorable travel experiences are often the result of unanticipated twists and turns.


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