Author: Marian Bartolome

Three days in Istanbul, Turkey

In my previous post, I wrote an overview of my experience in Istanbul, a city that’s so much more than what the headlines say. Here, I share our DIY tour of Turkey’s historical, religious, and cultural center.

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A taste of Turkish delight

If there’s a city that taught me not to believe other people’s stories, it’s Istanbul. From the famed Hagia Sofia to the bustling Grand Bazaar to the unexpectedly stunning Dolmabahce Palace, and the charming streets in between, Istanbul made me thankful I’d dared to follow that dream.

Córdoba, Spain: The Land of Flowers and Friends

I bought two tickets for a single bus ride out of Seville. It wasn’t because I had picked up a surprise companion – much to my disappointment. Rather, I’d booked a seat online to avoid being bumped off my preferred travel time, only to be told at the station that they couldn’t find my reservation on their system. The credit card charge had gone through, the actual ticket hadn’t. Since the attendants couldn’t understand much English and my knowledge of Spanish was limited to baño, gracias, and some random words I’d picked up from Duolingo, I bit the bullet and coughed up another 14 euros – this time in cash. For the budget-conscious traveler that I am, that sucked. But as they say, charge it to experience. Let go and move on. And I did – on to the flowery city of Córdoba. I’ll let you in on a secret. Whenever I travel alone, I’m torn between hoping I end up without a seatmate (that’s the introvert in me talking) and hoping I have an attractive one (I know, …