Merbaha, my friends! How are you? Jeff and I are having a most excellent time in Turkey. We’re almost halfway through our trip. We spent three days in Istanbul so far. Then we took an overnight bus last night to Kapadokya, in Central Turkey. I’ll hopefully post a few blog entries, so let me start with some first impressions of Istanbul.
Perhaps the first thing you’d notice in Istanbul is that it’s a huge, sprawling, crowded city. In fact, it’s one of the largest in the world. There are around 13 million people in Istanbul city limits. The streets are crowded and noisy. There are people walking everywhere. Buildings lean up next to each other and stretch as far as the eye can see. Some may be scared away by the density. But if you can deal with it, you can probably appreciate all the life that oozes from every street corner, shop, and alley.
Photo above is a cafe in an alley near the Gelata Tower. Photo below is in the Bazaar district.
Istanbul is full of history. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. Turkey is a republic now, but it’s only been such for 80 years. Before this, this land was many things – the Ottoman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Roman Empire, the Persians, the Hittites… Among the great landmarks in Istanbul are historical: Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofya, the Basilica Cistern. The first photo in this article (of Jeff and me) is of the Blue Mosque. The photo below is of the Aya Sofya.
Istanbul is surrounded by a ton of water. It is bordered by the Marman Sea, the Bosphorous Strait, and the Golden Horn (an inlet). There is so much waterfront property here. The water, combined with the hills in the region, make for a really pretty scenic backdrop. One of the best things to do in Istanbul is to take a tour of the Bosphorus.
Finally, the food here has been amazing. It’s so fresh, so interesting, so tasty. We’ve had food in restaurants, in alleys, and from street vendors. I will surely write more on this. Here’s a babagannoush meze (small plate) I had for a snack:
Istanbul rocks! There has been so much to see, so much to be taken in. I will follow up with more goodies soon. We didn’t have much internet access in Istanbul, but we finally have wireless in our hotel in Kapadokya, so expect more 🙂 Bye for now!