Exploring Istanbul and Cape Town: An Unforgettable Journey with Turkish Airlines

Sandra Bissember

12/15/20232 min read

brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour
brown tree on surrounded by brown grass during golden hour

The Gateway to Two Continents: My Istanbul Layover

My journey began with an incredible deal from Turkish Airlines - a round trip from Los Angeles to Istanbul, then onto Cape Town, all for less than $1000. The highlight? Turkish Airlines' Touristanbul program, which turned my layover into a fascinating free tour of Istanbul.

Istanbul, where Europe and Asia meet, was a whirlwind of culture, history, and breathtaking architecture. From the majestic Hagia Sophia to the stunning Blue Mosque and the bustling Grand Bazaar, every moment was a step through centuries of history. The aromas of Turkish cuisine and the sounds of the city added to the vibrant tapestry of my brief but memorable visit.

Cape Town: A Blend of Natural Beauty and Urban Vibrance

The second leg of my journey took me to Cape Town, where I stayed with my niece, a successful digital nomad. She had secured a gorgeous two-bedroom apartment in the Station House for three months, boasting stunning views of Lion's Head Mountain and the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

Our adventures in Cape Town were as diverse as the city itself. We took a cable car up Table Mountain, offering us a panoramic view that left us speechless. Our visit to Aquila Safari was a thrilling experience, with both ATV and traditional safaris bringing us face-to-face with the majestic wildlife of Africa.

Cultural and Culinary Delights

No trip to Cape Town would be complete without diving into its rich cultural and culinary scene. One evening at Mojo Market revealed the vibrant heart of South African culture, pulsating with music and bustling with locals. Dining at Belly of the Beast was another highlight - an exquisite meal with wine pairings that was surprisingly affordable.

We also indulged in the region’s famous wines at Tokara Winery, pairing them with delicious charcuterie. The laid-back beach scenes at Sea Point and the bustling V&A Waterfront added to our rich tapestry of experiences.

A Minor Setback, A Major Adventure

Travel always comes with it's surprises, and mine was a brief illness, likely due to the unfamiliar food and water. However, it was a small hiccup in an otherwise incredible journey.

Reflections and Future Wanderlust

As I look back on my travels through Istanbul and Cape Town, I'm filled with gratitude for the experiences and the people I met along the way. Despite a minor setback, the journey was nothing short of amazing. It’s ignited a desire in me to explore more cities, to immerse myself in new cultures, and to embrace the unexpected turns that travel brings.

Stay tuned for more adventures, and remember, sometimes the best journeys start with a simple layover!

brown concrete building near body of water during daytime
brown concrete building near body of water during daytime