Finally ended the anticipation-filled wait and shone the sun of our traveling day! Exactly the day after finals end — what exactly could resemble a happiness like that, where you are going to your absolute FAVORITE place on Earth right after your last final exam?!
Turkey. Heaven. Home. A place of comfort and familiarity for us. A vacation spot whose almost every mall, park, restaurant, touristic mosque, and street we’ve been to, but whose spontaneousness and exhilaration is always as alive as its traffic.
One reason we’re obsessed with Turkey is because of the stunning, sometimes-unpredictable weather. There are always clouds in the sky! There’s always rays of sun radiating warmth even when the breeze is as cold and shocking as the refrigerator section in a grocery store.
This place has become a second home to us and I think we’ll be visiting more than once a year every year for the next ten years. Yepp, that’s how much we’re in love!
Plus, I think traveling to the same familiar places every year as a family is much easier, safer, and more practical. There’s even more freedom as members of the family have the option to stay home/at the hotel if they don’t feel like going out — which does a great deal of lessening the annoyance and tension of seeing each other and being together 24/7!
The best shopping trips are always those when we’re on vacation and everyone’s in a good mood and everything feels new and exciting.
Turkey is especially a good spot for high-end designer shopping. There’s one mall called Zorlo Center that has one area fully dedicated to big brand stores. Glass surrounds the spacious passageway of stores, which is also half OUTDOOR!, and the scenery of it is absolutely stunning. You’re shopping in a place where the light is almost fully from the sun. You can see the sky and the clouds as you feel yourself in a fancy movie walking with shopping bags hanging from your wrists. You don’t feel caged in a mall where you don’t know if the sun is still up or if you’re even still in the same day! That’s my favorite. This mall is totally recommended.
Here, we were in Yalova visiting family. The sky was immaculately white and engulfed by clouds. The wind was cool and breezy. Our noses were red. Our lips were almost dry. This may sound depressing to some, but that is one definition of utter happiness for us.
People seemed content. Some of them were walking and chatting in groups, some were coming in and out of stores, some were standing at those Turkish little food trollies, lovers had their arms around each other to keep warm, mothers pushed trollies while fathers held their kids as they all talked and laughed together. We lived this marvelous scene and felt so at home with this society, as we understood their language and knew allot about their culture. Sometimes we would even unintentionally laugh if we heard someone saying a joke, and they would look at us strangely as to why we were suddenly laughing and how did we understand what they were laughing about. Most of them are friendly, though. We end up chatting, usually.
This was the day of our departure from our beloved İstanbul. The next destination was Bilbao, a city in Spain. And here commences the exploration part of this short vacation.
From İstanbul, we took a plane to Amsterdam and then from the stunning Amsterdam to Bilbao. We didn’t get to discover Amsterdam, unfortunately. However, the airport itself was so nice and spacious and was enough to fill us with those wonderful sensations of traveling to a foreign place. The people working there were nice and the airport had some really nice stores and cafés (which were too tempting, but we had a plane to catch!). And so we get onto our next plane to Bilbao.
We arrived late at night and so the streets were very empty and calm, making the city feel safe and serene. Strangely enough, while we were trying to find the hotel, my eyes found themselves focused on the grounds, noticing how clean the sidewalks looked… They were really cleeaann!
Agreeably to our assumption, the city really did seem safe in the morning as well. We woke up early and had breakfast in the hotel café, then decided to go on a stroll around the area and find ourselves a Starbucks.
Later into the day, the idea of exploring what was near our area sounded exciting. So we got in the car and drove for about an hour until we arrived at this nice place in the most perfect time, as the sunset looked like it was shinning light directly from Heaven! Look at those colors! They kept changing like a moving painting on a vast, ceaseless canvas. It felt so close, as if it was encompassing our souls, yet it was so enormous that no matter how close you wanted to get to it, the more it’ll show of itself to you.
On our second morning in Bilbao, we had planned to go to a museum that was right opposite to our hotel (which we were also suggested to visit by the flight attendant on the plane to the city).
It’s called The Guggenheim Museum — a museum of modern and contemporary art. There were many astonishing pieces that I wished I could photograph, but photos were not allowed to be taken, unfortunately. So instead, I decided to just stand and look at them. In the moment. No thoughts about stopping the moment or photographing for memories, just stare and feel. It was a beautiful experience.
Later, we went for a walk around the city and these pictures were taken:
We ended up having sushi for dinner and then going straight to bed, for a long drive to another city awaited us in the morning…