Istanbul is an enormous city that acts as the bridge between the European and Asian continents. Because of its age, historical importance, and vast cultural diversity, Istanbul is an extremely popular destination for tourists and Turkish citizens alike. One of the most impressive and slightly under-appreciated sights is the Sultanahmet mosque, otherwise known as The Blue Mosque. On the outside you can hear the moving call to prayer five time a day, and the inside is an unforgettable sight that photographs can hardly capture. Respectful behavior and appropriate dress is required to enter (Women wear head coverings, no shoes, men wear long pants, etc.) for it is still an active place of Islamic prayer and worship.
As the capital city of Spain, Madrid is a constantly bustling city that never sleeps. However, a must-see for quiet-lovers or those looking to relax is the Madrid Botanical Gardens. Massive, well-manicured, and fascinating, it is easy to get lost for hours looking at thousands of species of plants from around the world.
While walking down a small alleyway in Old Town Lisbon, I happened upon a set of hanging portraits that lined the walls. Each portrait was a depiction of a long-time, well respected resident of the neighborhood. These incredibly moving photographs show the sense of community in Lisbon.