• Shelley Dark

4. where we lay our heads....


Have you noticed how time seems to speed up when a trip is approaching? How the chores seem to grow exponentially? And a slight feeling of panic starts in the pit of your stomach? How will I have time to have a pedicure? All the really important stuff!

While you are tapping your feet waiting for takeoff, thought you might be interested to know how I chose the accommodation for the trip. I really care about staying in nice hotels - for me, some of my most memorable moments have been when I’ve walked into a hotel room and been hit with a magnificent view, or a gorgeous interior. And when you care about photography, views matter. I want to come back to a hotel at night and think ‘oh yes!’, even though I’m only putting down my head….. (or in this instance, sitting up editing photos and writing love letters to you!)

The accommodation in Istanbul was relatively easy. Last year, Louise @gigglesandtonic (thank you Louise) posted a photo of Hazz at Istanbul (photo above) and I nearly fainted at the sight. I knew I had to go there. Its the family home of an interior designer and an artist-sculptor and they have turned it into a 4 bedroom guest house, and they are on the higher floors. It looks simply amazing. In an area where all the diplomats live, just off Istikal Avenue. Originally I booked for the entire week, but then we thought that maybe we would like the stimulation of a hotel for a while. And one which was close to the major tourist area, Sultanahmet. (I didn’t want to stay at the Four Seasons in that area - too touristy) There are lovely hotels further north along the Bosphorus, but for us they were a bit too far away from the action, and apparently Istanbul traffic can be a nightmare.

I asked Asli, the owner of Hazz, where she would stay, and she nominated the Vault Karakoy. House Hotels is a small group put together by a couple of Turkish fellows, and they do it very nicely. The Vault is on the site of an old bank (hence the vault, which is now a wine cellar), and it’s a very short walk across the bridge to the old city, close to the water. One of its bathrooms below.

The hotels in the rest of Turkey I just asked for the best hotels available, and accepted the tour companies suggestions.

For Barcelona, the Mercer in the old Gothic quarter sounds amazing - cutting edge design within a building incorporating part of the old city walls from when Barcelona was part of the Roman Empire. The medieval facade apparently gives no hint of what’s within. I’m excited to see it (below)

And so to Paris. Not a hotel, an apartment. I have stayed in Paris Perfect apartments before, and enjoyed them. But this ‘luxe’ apartment I found on the site Haven in Paris. It looks divine. Two bedrooms and bathrooms. Carolyn and I didn’t ever consider sharing - we both like our own space! And I snore badly. How unattractive. Forget I told you that.

The downside of an apartment is that you don’t have the concierge or other guests to chat to, but the upside is space and a feeling of our very own home for a week where we can really relax. And it is in a superb location - a block off the Boulevard St Germain, near the Jardins du Luxembourg. photo below.

One of the joys of this trip is that we will see people we’ve met on Instagram - @everydaycurator in Istanbul, @paris_scribe in Paris, and one of you will be in Paris in the week we are there, so we are so excited to meet you Coco!

Coco I forget your Instagram name! Actually, there are several of you whose name I know from the booking process, but I don’t know your Instagram name. And I would desperately love to. Could you either send me an email to shelleydarktravel@gmail.com or send me a private message in Instagram to let me know? Some of you I know so well on Instagram and I don’t even know your first name in real life. And now I know your first names in real life, but can’t make the Instagram connection!

It’s getting close babies! Jenny (Cameron, a traveller too) and I are going to cut greenery for a friend’s daughter’s wedding this afternoon, in the rain. Should be fun. And it's her birthday! Happy birthday Jen!

Until next time….

#TurkeyBarcelonaParisOct2015

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"I never travel without my diary.  

One should always have something

sensational to read on the train."  

                                - OSCAR WILDE

shelley dark 

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