Summer is right around the corner and in case you are still debating on where to travel and what place to explore this year, read on, I have exciting stories and tips to share with you. I just had the wonderful opportunity to discover Istanbul – emerging Fashion capital, root of momentous religious and cultural mile stones and the only city being divided between two continents. Traveling almost every week of the year and caring about nature, society and long-term orientation, I was excited to be invited by Mövenpick Hotels, IDEE Travel and Turkish Airlines to explore sustainable stories around Istanbul. I see this as a wonderful chance to not only show you beautiful places in this world but also demonstrate that traveling can be done in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way.
Since I hold a degree in history of art and archeology it was a pleasant surprise that one of the very first stops was the historic square around Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. This area is especially interesting due to the stress field of the former Christian church Hagia Sophia and the traditional Islam Mosque Sultan Ahmed. They are situated in midst of a picturesque garden overflowing of flowers, palm trees and other plants surrounding impressive fountains. The sun was burning in the sky and so we were happy to visit the historic buildings and enjoy the cool shadow. When in Istanbul, definitely take a few hours out of your day to visit this area and get lost in the ostentatious beauty of these buildings and their rich history and countless stories. Doing everything by foot will not only reduce emissions but also show you picturesque details and corners.
Another thing I can recommend is to take a boats tour on the Bosporus. You will be amazed by the vastness, the fruitful nature, the luxurious villas right by the river and the everchanging views that will take your breath away. We even saw an old castle, which turned out to be a fortress from the 15th century. IDEE travel absolutely excelled themselves and organized a private yacht that took us around, showing us the most beautiful bays and sights. Giovanni, the chef from Mövenpick Istanbul, was on board as well and prepared lunch for us featuring many dishes and appetizers ranging from Italian classics to Turkish delicacies. We eventually stopped at a scenic villa right at the river to visit Dilek Bil, a leading driver of the sustainability movement in Turkey, and Faruk Bil, her husband who is an inspiring and masterly artist.
The Mövenpick Hotels can be seen as one of the leading entities in sustainable tourism. They are certified and awarded by several independent organisations and really practice what they preach. Where ever you go and whatever you do in this hotel, you do not only encounter the most kind and attentive staff but can also observe sustainability put into practice. Whether it is the fair and eco beauty products, the regional and organic produce you find at the breakfast buffet or their policies in terms of food waste, water usage or electricity. You can feel that every member of the team and every division of the hotel is driven by the sustainability movement.
Above the clouds on my way home I was winding down cuddled up in my comfy chair, enjoying a delicious three-course meal of traditional delicacies and sipping on Turkish coffee. This was the perfect down time to reflect on what a memorable experience I made. I surely will be back soon. Thank you Turkish Airlines taking me home safely, welcoming me in your luxurious lounge and making the flight so immensely relaxing and enjoyable.