Accomodation in Istanbul, Turkey

Where to stay in Istanbul?

Choosing where to stay was possibly the most time consuming decision I had to make when planning the trip. I took about 2 hours to plan the itinerary and yet I spent weeks deciding where to stay! There are lots of options for accommodation and many are similar however choosing an area to stay in can be difficult.

So basically it comes down to 2 options Sultanahmet (the old city) and Beyoglu (modern Istanbul). EminönĂ¼ and Fatih fall under the old city while Beyoglu consists of Taksim, Sisli, Besiktas etc. The two areas are actually neighboring, divided only by the Golden Horn body of water and Galata bridge.

Known as the city where east meets west, the only city in the world in two continents - Europe and Asia - is none other than incredible Istanbul. Awe-inspiring architecture, rich history and immersive culture, Istanbul is a true gem and a must see city.

Sunsets over the Bhosphurus with the stunning silhouette of grand mosques - that's the image in my head when I think of the city.

When asked what to do for my 21st birthday, I didn't even have to give it a second thought - Turkey had been on my bucket list for the past 2 years. So after a very last minute thought, my mom and I booked our flights and were off to Turkey! In the next few posts I'll tell you a bit more about my adventures and what I got up to in Istanbul and Cappadocia.

Here are some travel tips and advice for planning your trip to Istanbul!

Unicorns, Rapunzel and a magical land of fairy chimneys and hot air balloons filling the sky at sunrise - what do they all have in common? They're all fairytales - or so you think! 
Cappadocia (meaning: "the land of beautiful horses") is very much a REAL PLACE in Central Turkey that has the most otherworldly feel. 

When people think of KwaZulu-Natal they don't usually think of a holiday in the countryside. This often means they miss out on one of the best destinations in the province - the Midlands Meander. Nestled among the green, lush rolling hills of the Midlands is where you'll find Brahman Hills.

You're on a 7 hour road trip from Joburg to Durban. It's approaching hour 6, almost a whole day on the road. You're grumpy. You're tired. You're HUNGRY. Just like an oasis in the desert you pull off the N3 onto Nottingham Road and see The Midlands Kitchen, a foodie heaven in the Midlands!

Do you know what's really annoying?  Seeing pictures on instagram of all these insanely beautiful, exotic places while you're busy studying for exams.

No seriously, Yas is a place and it's paradise!
Monday, the 15th of May, was a big day for me - the day I could finally stop cringing when someone asked for my age and I had to end if off with "teen". I'm finally a twenty something (well twenty nothing technically). Cool, right? Tbh it's actually a pretty big deal for me. My excuse for everything in life up until that point was "I'm so young, it doesn't matter". Guess what Asha, it kinda matters now. I mean I'm still so young (I can't even legally drink in half of the world!), but now I don't feel like that excuse is valid anymore. I have no excuse not to have adventures. I have no excuse not to learn more. I have no excuse not to love more. I have no excuse not to get my shit together.

And most importantly, I have no excuse not to slay! This week one of the greatest Slay Queens if my life, has graced us with the ultimate guide to slaying - whether you're 20, 30 or even 102 (Yeah, we're gonna be bomb ass grandmas one day)!
Happy belated World Press Freedom Day! World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. Since then, 3 May, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day. Speaking of Windhoek (No, not the beer!), we might be having a blog post about Namibia soon (Yes Elina, I'm looking at you). So often we take Freedom of Press for granted when so many journalists all around the world are being imprisoned and losing their lives for simply recovering the truth. Why are our voices still being silenced?  Did you know that Al Jazeera journalist, Mahmoud Hussein, has been detained in Eqypt for 141 days and counting? Yeah, that shizz actually happens in real life.

Anyway, it's time to get to this weeks blog post. We're still doing the guest post series where anyone who isn't Asha Singh can contribute to the blog (*sigh* I miss writing for you guys!). For this weeks opinion piece, we go abroad to a country I know very little about apart from the fact that it's definitely #travelgoals - the Philippines. 
WARNING: I wrote this post as a typical young-dumb-and-broke student so don't judge.

If you're a foodie, head over to Part 1.

Bloem is super cold and super hot. The weather knows no chill. Just when you think this is the hottest it can get, it gets hotter. Just when you think this is the coldest it can get, it gets colder. Now that it's winter, that struggle is so real. It's that time of year again when everyone's going to post "Does anyone want to be my cuddle buddy?" on Facebook. Yeah keep your cuddle buddies, all I need for food and my bed and I'm good. Do you know what else keeps me warm? You guess it, Jagerbombs!

Now Jagermeister didn't sponsor this post but I so wish they had. I mention jagerbombs so much because they're my squads signature drink. One Tuesday night after a terrible economics exam we went to No.16 Stoep and Beer Garden (Which just closed down unfortunately *sob*) and our waiter suggested we try jagerbombs, a mix of Jagermeister and red bull. In that moment our lives changed. We didn't feel so depressed about our exam anymore, for the first time that night we felt like everything was going to be okay. Hence, the significance of jagerbombs in my life.

Back to the travel guide. A lot of people I speak to, especially those that live in the city, seem to have no idea what to do in Bloemfontein! Granted, compared to other cities in the country it does seem to have a lack of fun activities but that's no excuse to not do any exploring all together. Here are some of the things I like doing in Bloem:

  • Oliewenhuis - As a creative, one of the first things I like to explore in every city I visit is the museums. The actual building design of Oliwenhuis art museum is stunning! Not to mention the front lawn, which is pretty much the only green place in Bloem all year round. They have a permanent exhibit upstairs as well as every month they have a new one downstairs. My favorite temporary exhibition was The Visionary Brusher Game by Janine Allen in August 2016. It was so creepy! I also tried out the walking/hiking trails which are fairly decent. And it used to be an awesome place to catch pokemon! Oliewenhuis also has a restaurant, The Terrace, which I'm not a fan of since I've received bad service there.
  • National Museum - One of my favorite museums ever! From Astronomy to Palaeontology to the history of Bloemfontein, this place has everything. Located right in the middle of the CBD, this place truly gives you a piece of history. My favorite exhibition is the historical street scene. According to the website, "This exhibition depicts the daily life of ordinary people in a Free State town at the end of the 19th to early 20th century." It really makes me feel like I'm experiencing life in the 19th century. Everything is so realistic, even the teeny, tiny details. 
  • Free State Botanical Gardens - the botanical gardens are located a few kilometers out of town and are definitely worth the drive. If you like plants, this will obviously be an awesome, educational treat for you but I really couldn't care less about flowers. The Botanical Gardens also have some amazing hiking trails which I can't recommend enough as well as lots of cute picnic spots. 
  • Boeremark - if you can get yourself to wake up early on a Saturday (Usually the biggest struggle for me since I always seem to be hung over on Saturday morning, I have no idea why) go to the Boeremark in Langenhoven Park. They have lots of yummy treats (Like the best pancakes ever), a George Clooney look-a-like working at one of the stalls (Mmm yummy) and really cool random shit you can buy. 
  • Cheetahs and Shimlas rugby - I know there's tons of other sport that happen in Bloem but lets be real, I only care about rugby. I'm a huge Cheetahs supporters (Although, not as much as the Sharks) and love watching them play in the Currie Cup. The vibe at the games are incredible and it's so beautiful seeing the whole town get behind their team. The Shimlas are my go to team for the Varsity Cup and you can catch their games at Shimla Park.
  • Loch logan Waterfront - you can't keep a girl from her shopping and Loch Logan Waterfront mall mall definitely satisfies all my shopping desires. My usual routine is: smoothie at Kauai; shop at cotton on; lunch at Braza; dessert at Cinnabon then a movie at Nu Metro. Yeah, you can see that I'm a basic bitch. They also have Go Karts on level M4 which are super fun.
Some honorary mentions would be Windmill Casino, where I kick butt at bowling, the arcade games at Mimosa mall, where you can relive your childhood playing Tekken, Gwen Bali waterpark about 10km out of Bloem and a day trip to Masselspoort. There are still lots of exploring I want to do, like going to Naval Hill, the Womens Memorial Monument, visit Cheetah's experience Conservation Centre, the Anglo Boer War Museum and the elude escape room.

If you're looking for a place to stay, I had an awesome time at the City Lodge right opposite Mimosa mall and would totally recommend it. Also, if you happen to fall down the stairs you can always go to Mediclinic right opposite for all your dying, I mean medical, needs.


I'll end things off with my favorite part of this Travel Guide! Time to get lit at the clurrrrb. My favorite place to go out in Bloem is No.16 Stoep and Beer Garden. My squad has this phrase we use instead of turn up - Stoep it up. I'm sure you can guess where that originated from.

Other places that deserve honorary mention are Boho Bistro A.K.A the place where at least 5 guys are bound to hit on you in a night. I love Boho Bistro but it's just always so full and the guys there have no chill.

Patong is also pretty cool, as well as Mystic Boer (R8 wine on Tuesdays! And an amazing nachos pizza) and Cubana (The only hookah in town). The best part is that all of these places are on 2nd Avenue which means you only need to take a cab there and back. So go forth into the world and DRAAAAANK THOSE JAGERBOMBS.

I'm nicknaming this post JAGERBOMBS IN BLOEMFONTEIN.

Why? You just have to read part 2 to find out. *wink*

Now, Bloemfontein is dry. No, like, I'm serious. So damn dry. In every way. It's only in Bloem that you really learn to appreciate water. Water is the greatest gift from God, never forget that. And you know what else is a great gift from God? Jagerbombs!

Ironically I'm sitting at departures at an airport while I write this post, but this reinforces why I would much rather be in a car with my best friends having a road trip right now.

O R Tambo Airport, 3 February 2017
With recent events such as President Donald J. Trump's "muslim ban" there have been lots of negativity from the western world towards followers of Islam. Our generation prides itself on being all about radiating them good vibes, so I thought I would share with you some of my favourite things about the Muslim (Particularly Arab) culture.

life by asha singh sheikh zayed mosque abu dhabi why I love muslims
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, 4 January 2016

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