The temperature rapidly rises whilst I make my way down the crowded streets surrounding Galata Tower, through the Galata bridge, and steeply climbing away from the Golden Horn almost immediately finding myself lost in the heaving streets surrounding the Grand Bazaar.
A place which proudly sport the name 'Grand' due to its size, compelled into a sheltered combination of dingy yet colourful corridors splattered with countless shops which sell everything from Persian silk to 'Aladdin-like' lamps, groceries and jewellery. A place where the smell of freshly brewed apple tea transport oneself to Ottoman times and fictional chants of bargaining in both Arab and Turkish can be heard.
Bargaining isn't a fantasy here though, and I manage to buy a set of strong Turkish tea glasses (my only souvenir from Turkey) for merely a third of the price first offered.
Only a few street away, the Suleymaniye Mosque reigns over the hills surrounding the Ataturk boulevard, a privileged position over the busy Istanbul skyline and the perfect place to contemplate the grandeur of this 15-million people city, also providing the unique opportunity of overlooking two continents at the same time.
I later enjoy a quick and always practical chicken kebab by the Sultainahmet Esplanade, only to notice the queue, or lack of, around the Hagia Sofia. A perfect opportunity to visit one of the city's highlights without the hassle of the tourists.
The 'Ayia Sofia', completed in the year 537 remains as the solid witness of a complete transformation of, not only Istanbul, but the whole continent.
Over its 1,478 years of history, this pink-coloured building and its 55 meters-height dome served as an Eastern Orthodox church, as well as a Roman Catholic church and an Imperial Mosque, before turning into a Museum in 1935.
Inside this magnificent building, history seems to overlap in an aggressive yet fascinating way, and thousand year-old mosaics dominate the details of solidly crafter arches, covered in gigantic round panels with Qoran scripts on them.
Light timidly penetrates through the round tall windows, creating a sensation of extreme depth (ideal for praying) and exaggerating the golden details of the main altar, slightly tilted to the right in order to accurately point to the Mecca.
The sightseeing has made me hungry, easily beatable with a piece of freshly boiled corn on the cob sitting in the greenery of Gulshain Park. I call a street vendor in order to purchase a small cup of tea to complement the meal.
The young Turkishman rapidly engages into conversation, whilst almost magically prepares the fresh brew and blends it with sugar crystals.
He swiftly briefs me about his background proudly stating that he has graduated from technical college a few years ago. Nevertheless, selling tea in the streets of Istanbul in the mild spring is something that not only provides him with a large income, but it is also an enjoyable experience.
His dark brown eyes fill with passion when talking about Turkish patriotism, solidarity towards the Syrian refugees and Islam, seconds before reaching to his wooden basket and offeriing me a copy of the Qoran as a present.
I return to the hostel to indulge on more tea and some honey-drenched baklavas before, once again, walk across the Golden Horn and up the hill of Suleymaniye Mosque as I watch the sun setting over the East and the city transforming into two large set of bright lights, separated by the mighty Bosphorus.
The night is spent locally, venturing through the dark alleways of Taksim for a night time kebab, some Turkish delight and conversations around the hostel's lounge.
A trip to Istanbul could not be complete without a visit to the Asian side, which is done early in the morning, with the company of a German and two Canadian fellow travellers. A journey completed under turquoise skies, surrounded by a light mist which covers the jellyfish-infested waters of the Bosphorus.
The fifteen-minute cruise takes us to a different city, in which grid-organised wide streets heave with traffic and tramlines.
The Asian side is known for its wealth, an opportunity not to be missed when experiencing the freshness of the produce sold in its fruit market, or the strong aromas of freshly brewed Turkish coffee, carefully not trying to swallow the mud lodged at the bottom of the golden cup.
Once back in Europe, we enjoy a few cans of beers in the gardens of Taksim Square and later return to the hostel.
The strong sunshine invites for moments of relaxation in the terrace along with the adventurous Swiss girl, to whom Istanbul is merely a stage in her way through locally living in different parts of the continent, the strong-minded Tunisian girl, patiently waiting for her visa to Qatar to be ready, and the crowd of Canadians and German who I shared the day with.
Hours pass by. Prayer calls are heard in the distance. Bits of flat bread, mixed with olives, cheese, ham and sweets are enjoyed, whilst intense conversations in regards of Middle Eastern foreign policy, history and travel anecdotes are shared. The perfect way to enjoy my last hours in the crossroads of the Middle East.
At midnight, I decide to retreat to my bedroom for a couple of hours, leaving the dark dorm some two hours later.
I walk through dark streets where quietness is only interrupted by the noise of street cats roaming around the place and 24-hour open convenience and kebab shops.
The Havatas bus leaves Taksim almost immediately, speeding through the windy Ataturk boulevard and reaching the international airport some twenty minutes later.
Check in and immigration formalities follow swiftly, no wi-fi is available. A perfect opportunity to relax before the 5-hour return journey to Dublin.
The sun rises over the busy tarmac, unveiling a jungle of red airplane tails and a hazy horizon covered in high-rise buildings.
A rapid Northern departure takes the plane over the beaches of the Black Sea, before flying over Romania and breakfast is served.
A movie and some two comedies later, the classic final approach over Wales is made prior to landing in a sunny Dublin Airport, marking the end of this short yet colourful journey in a city full of surprises, an experience probably best defined by its eclecticism and its richness in culture.