“When I am not travelling, I am usually planning my next trip.” Words like that sum up pretty much everything you would expect from an avid traveller, that is Mansi Bhatnagar. This traveller ventures to the far lands of exotic aromas and breath-taking surroundings, at the same time capturing some of its essence in her camera and sharing that mesmerising experience with everyone.
A bit about Mansi and her passion of travelling
To begin with, – Why you do the things you do?
“I am a holiday planner by profession. Travel is my passion.” Mansi replied, “I have always been curious about foreign lands, new cultures, different foods, local markets and new perspectives.”
Mansi even attributes some of her personal qualities to a much rigorous travelling habit she is infected with. “This hunger to know more pushes me to travel far and wide. I feel travel has made me grow personally and intellectually. I am at my best self when I am travelling. “
Not only is she consumed by her passion, she intends to inspire us all with this perpetual longing to travel. “As I wander across different cities and towns, I document my stories, experiences and gastronomic adventures and I love to share them with the world.”
Istanbul, a charming place
Mansi truly has a lot to share. Let’s take a look at her trip to Istanbul, something which she fondly recollects, “It is one of the most awe inspiring cities of the world. It is where Europe meets Asia. Istanbul has been true to its history, culture and heritage while evolving into a modern metropolis.”
Seasoned travellers are very helpful when it comes to giving useful tips to a novice. “It is great throughout the year, but I feel it is truly magical in winters. The weather is lovely plus the number of tourists decline, so you end up avoiding the long queues and crowds. Also, the hotel rates are low in winters. You can choose to stay in high end luxury properties, without burning a hole in your pocket.”
Ideal clothing for a winter in Istanbul
“Travelling can be great in winters, but proper clothing is essential. When travelling in winters, I recommend carrying a set of thermals, a thick jacket, a sweatshirt, a woollen cap, a muffler and a pair of boots. Travelling in winters does not mean that you need to compromise on your fashion sense.”
Getting familiar with Istanbul
Once you are well- equipped for the weather, Mansi has a few sugggestions for you to indulge your senses through the magic of Istanbul in winter. “A typical winter day in Istanbul is beautiful, and can be great fun. For a true Istanbul experience, stay in Sultanahmet – (or Old Istanbul.) Have some breakfast at one of the many cafes/bakeries there. Walk to the Sultanahmet square. It’s the centre of culture and heritage. The atmosphere is amazing. Sit on a bench, enjoy the stunning view of Blue Mosque on one side and The Hagia Sophia on the other.”
“Spend some time visiting these cultural sites. Also, visit the Topkapi Palace. For some retail therapy, head to the Grand Bazaar. It is one of the largest covered markets in the world. From souvenirs to spices, furniture to carpets, there is a lot to explore. Don’t forget to bargain. Take the tram and go to the Galata Bridge. Sample some seafood at one of the many restaurants below the bridge. Take a cruise on the famous Bhosphorus River. Remember to wear a jacket. It can get really chilly. As the night arrives, get your party shoes on and proceed to Istikal Street. It”s buzzing with people and the atmosphere is lively and full of fun. You can choose from the many bars, pubs and cafes on the street or just do some pub hopping.”
Istanbul, a summary.
Mansi summarises her trip to Istanbul with these words,“I went, I saw, and I fell in love. The beautiful fusion of the modern and the ancient makes Istanbul a truly magical city. I had a great time. The awesome weather made it even more fabulous. There is still lots to explore and am ready to go back to this stunning city at the next opportunity.
Other great places a traveller could visit.
Apart from Istanbul, Mansi has a few recommendations for your next great trip. “Seville, Spain – The architecture in Seville is a combination of Gothic, Moorish and Renaissance styles. Just ambling around the city will make you fall in love with it. The narrow cobblestoned alleys, plazas and the wonderful Spanish people will make you fall in love with this Andalusian gem.”
There is also Brugge in Belgium. Brugge is a perfect example of a fairy tale town. It will transport you to a different world. Brugge is most fabulous during Christmas. Don’t forget to taste some local Belgian beer and some delectable Belgian chocolates.”