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Sydney Harbour bridge and palm tree viewed from the Hyatt Hotel

#JeSuisCharlie: When 3 Cities You Love Face Terror

Hi Frugalistas.  This is a different post for me.  As I start to write I’m not actually sure where I’m even heading with it.  Most readers would be familiar with events over the past few weeks, with Sydney, Istanbul and Paris being rocked by separate terrorist attacks.  Adding to that, I was in Athens with […]

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Seagulls flying, with building in background

frugalfirstclasstravel guides: a short guide to Istanbul

Hi Frugalistas!  I didn’t write my guide to Istanbul after my first visit in October.  Istanbul was too big, and just too much to write about after a single visit.  Vibrant, energetic and with always something to see and do, Istanbul is now a firm favorite with me.  From your comments, I know it is one of yours too.  […]

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purple, white and orange tulips

The Istanbul tulip festival

Hi Frugalistas!  I noticed it as soon as my bus left Istanbul airport – tulips.  Lots of tulips.  Every April Istanbul welcomes spring with a tulip festival.  Tulips are a traditional flower in Turkey and feature heavily in Islamic art.  The whole city goes made with tulips in every colour and every design.  From humble […]

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White cat sitting on a rock in Istanbul

More cats of Istanbul

Hi Frugalistas!  If you’ve been to Istanbul or have read my, or others’ blog posts, you know that cats rule.  They are everywhere.  Shopkeepers look after them, people feed them, and tourists pat and photograph them. When I was on my Culinary Backstreets food tour of Istanbul, my guide Senem and I discussed the cats […]

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circular golen mosaic of madonna and child

A visit to Chora Church in Istanbul

Hi Frugalistas!  This week’s Friday Fotos visits one of the smaller tourist sites in Istanbul – Chora church. While Chora is a bit off the beaten tourist path in Istanbul, and is much smaller than the better known Hagia Sophia, it is nonetheless a stunning place, worthy of your valuable travel time. How To Get […]

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window display of baklava

6 foods you must try in Istanbul

Hi Frugalistas!  My recent post on the Culinary Backstreets Istanbul Eats walk I took in Istanbul really struck a chord with readers.  So many comments and so much discussion!  The food and drink I’ve featured on my Instagram account (you can catch up with frugalfirstclasstravel on Istagram at the right hand side of this screen) […]

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king size bed in hotel room in Istanbul

Save or splurge? What you should budget for a hotel in Istanbul

Hi Frugalistas!  Istanbul is cheaper than many other cities in Europe.  This is particularly true when it comes to hotels.  When you choose a hotel in Istanbul (or in any other budget destination for that matter) you have a choice – do you book your usual standard of accommodation, and pocket the change, or book […]

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white plate, white paper napkins, cutlery and 3 baklava

Istanbul: eating my way round the New District

Hi Frugalistas!  Regular readers will know that one of the key philosophies of frugalfirstclasstravel is enjoying being a temporary local.  Eating, lots of walking and mixing with the locals is a key part of that.  Regular readers will also know how much I love my food.  I was therefore delighted to discover the Culinary Backstreets […]

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The frugalfirstclasstravel guide to the Blue Mosque

Hi Frugalistas! Staying in Sultanahmet, the call to prayer from the Blue Mosque is a real feature.  Stay close enough, and it wakes you every morning.  Walking around Sultanahmet, its minarets form a landmark and help you guide your way.  I was fortunate enough to have a hotel room overlooking the mosque – I loved […]

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The frugalfirstclasstravel guide to visiting Hagia Sophia

Hi Frugalistas! Hagia Sophia was probably the tourist site I was most looking forward to visiting in Istanbul.  But I was a bit worried.  Would it be much smaller in “real life”?  Would it be over run with tourists making it impossible to see anything?  Would I be queuing for hours?  I’m delighted to say […]

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