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“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson

In just one whole year, I have been to Istanbul 4 times. Why? Because why not? Istanbul is (yes it is a cliche to say this) beautiful. It isn’t difficult to convince why one would fall in love with this city.

From its sensational architectural spectacles to its sumptuous dishes and sweet delights to how the city turns into various shades of yellow and orange during sundown to the various scenes along its busy streets that showcases diversity and history unfolding your very own eyes, and some unexpected kind people who can change your perception about life – Istanbul is a wonder.

Here are some pictures (and reasons) that made me swoon over its charm.

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I love Istanbul because it is like being in two continents at the same time. And that is cool.

Istanbul is one of the most well-known city in the world spanning on two continents – Asia and Europe, making its location essential and strategic. The Asia and Europe sides are efficiently connected through a series of transportation systems by way of the famous Bosphorus. So if you want to tick off the idea of being in 2 continents at the same time, well, Istanbul probably is the best place to be at. Because of this, Turkish culture to me is a perfect fusion of Asia and Europe!

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I love Istanbul because one has an array of public transport choices. And it is such a delight to try each kind.

I lam fascinated how efficient and cheap it is to travel from one place to the another in this bustling metropolis. They also have terrible traffic but it shouldn’t be much of a problem because one have other options to reach one’s destination. One can take a bus, a funicular (small van like vehicles), the subway (which by the way goes down the Marmaray Bay), a tram, a train or even a ferry. Name it, they have it! And you just have to have one transpo card – the Istanbulkart! You will be surprised you would never take a taxi.

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I love Istanbul because Turkish food is soooo damn good! You’ll find yourself craving for more…

Probably one city that tops my list for its food. Why? Because they’re good… really really good. From the popular Turkish delights (my taste buds scream with joy whenever they taste its saccharine goodness), to street food like midye dolma (stuffed seafood) to their very cheap bread called simit paired with either Turkish tea or coffee, their “iskander” kebab (thinly cut grilled lamb, tomato sauce, pita bread, melted sheep butter and yogurt) – all rich and delicious!

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I love Istanbul because every corner of the city is like learning architecture, history, arts and culture rolled into one.

Having been regarded as the capital of 3 great empires – Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman, Istanbul is such an amazing city to explore. From its oh-so-picturesque mosques, to its stunning parks, grand bazaar, and seaside sceneries – the ‘city of a thousand mosques” will leave you in awe. The Blue Mosque and the Suleimaniye Mosques to me are stand out. The Hagia Sofia shouldn’t be missed as well. Emirgan Park is such a lovely place to visit. I was lucky that during my 3rd Turkey trip, I was able to check out the tulip festival in this large park. Truly, every angle is picturesque and reflective of a rich culture.

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Travel gives us a sense of accomplishment: If you dream big, you will probably reach for new challenges. Being able to finish a trip gives you the satisfaction that you were able to make a goal to travel and  accomplish what you set out to do – and that is to see the world.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be JUANderlust. Take it easy everyJuan…