Istanbul in Full Bloom

Tony in the Topkapı Palace gardens

For years, we have had the same conversation over and over, which ended with a rather disheartening question.

TRAVELER: “What’s your favorite city in the world? Oh, actually that’s probably an impossible question, isn’t it?”

TONY: “No, that’s actually a very easy question for me. Istanbul is my favorite city. I LOVE Istanbul more than any city in the world!”

THOMAS: “Tony, you always say Istanbul when people ask that question, but you haven’t been back to Istanbul in years. You have no idea how the city has changed. Do you think it would still be your favorite city?”

And I always secretly worried that 21st century Istanbul might be a bit of a letdown. Perhaps that’s one reason why we waited so long to return. Well, it’s much bigger than the last time we visited, it’s MUCH more expensive, and modern skyscrapers are sprouting up from behind the hills. Clearly, the city continues to evolve.

But when we arrived in Istanbul, the city was celebrating its annual tulip festival. With more than three million tulips planted around the city’s monuments, parks, and squares, Istanbul was in full bloom. If I ever had any doubts, they were immediately gone. With its stunning setting on the Bosphorus, glorious Byzantine and Ottoman architecture, exotic markets, and bustling street life all framed in a rainbow of tulips, Istanbul is definitely still my favorite city in the world.

Topkapı Palace gardens

6 responses to “Istanbul in Full Bloom”

  1. avatar Leonie says:

    Although I’ll certainly never visit as many cities as you have, Tony, Istanbul is also (so far:-)) my favorite city in the world! Permanently living there would be much too straining both to my wallet and my waistline, but a year without a visit to Istanbul: I cannot imagine it!

    • avatar Tony says:

      “Permanently living there would be much too straining both to my wallet and my waistline.”

      You can say that again! We went through more money in Istanbul than we did in Paris. And I was starting to pack on the pounds from all the baklava at Karaköy Güllüoğlu. 🙂

  2. avatar Prajna says:

    Istanbul is my fav too.. not that I have traveled wide like you. But what I love about the city is, there is an amazing unique mix of the old and the new. There is so much architecture to admire as there is the new age glamor! We have the old city of sultanahmet and also there is the Istiklal street! A cruise on the bosphorus gives a peek into the lives lived in the ottoman era.
    Another thing, actually 2 things I love about Istanbul is that the people are so so genuine and so friendly and ofcourse the food! Its a food lover’s heaven. A walk on any street makes u immensely hungry for the colorful sweets, and delicacies of Turkey.
    I want to definitely visit Turkey again 🙂

    • avatar Tony says:

      “A walk on any street makes u immensely hungry for the colorful sweets, and delicacies of Turkey.”

      So true Prajna. We’re addicted to the rose-flavored Turkish delight.

  3. avatar MUGE says:

    Hello Tony ;

    I am Muge from Istanbul . I have reached your web site through Karen . Currently i am host student in Karen”s house in San Diego . she had emailed your article abut my city , I glad of you!! you like my city , I am really happy since I have read your thoughts about Istanbul .I would love to hear that you will come again Istanbul , also I adore my city .

    • avatar Tony says:

      Hi Muge,

      I do love Istanbul. It’s my favorite city in the world. I can’t wait to go another 100 times. 🙂

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