Day 222: Istanbul, Isdamncool?

Turkish lamps

Yes, pretty cool indeed, though I can’t say I’m particularly excited by Istanbul. Blame it on the visa applications that have exhausted our moods. That aside, there’s a real energetic vibe and I’m convinced this city doesn’t sleep.

Ortakoy Mosque and the Bosphorus bridge
in the backgrorund, bridging Europe & Asia

If there’s one thing about Istanbul that didn’t fit the magazine and guidebook descriptions, it would be the overused “East-meets-West” cliche. There are other cities (e.g. Sarajevo in Bosnia, Berat in Albania) that felt more of an east-west melting pot than Istanbul. Though the city is geographically divided into a European side and Asian side, there isn’t much difference between the two. Whatever it is, Istanbul has got its own unique personality.

mmmm… baklava! pastry soaked in honey.

It’s obvious we are out of Europe and finally entering Middle East – another step closer to destination home. There are mosques abound (some of the most beautiful I’ve seen), spicy cuisine, exotic handicrafts, chaotic bazaars, and lots of people. Seriously, it’s hard to get around Istanbul without getting stuck in a crowd. The population here is some 16 million.

What did I say about crowds? Swarming aboard the tramway on the Istiklal

Favourites have been crossing Galata bridge and watching people fish, seeing the city sky flare up at sunset, and walking down Istiklal Cadessi to drool over the mouthwatering desserts on display. Love staying in Beyoglu (new Istanbul), far more local than the touristic Sultanhamet (old Istanbul) area.

Deeeeeeeeelicious just looking…

Ray & Domico arrived the night before and it’s been awesome to catch up with close friends again. I’m really really looking forward to the week ahead, not only because they’re here, but we get to explore Cappadocia together. This region of lunar landscapes has been on the top of my to-see list, sitting side by side with Machu Picchu and Salar de Uyuni… can’t wait. 2 months already without a real jaw dropper, I am ready to be awed.

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One Comment

  1. Marty says:

    I really enjoyed while reading, and photos are great. Especially baklavas looks yummy :) . Still there are many things to do in Istanbul. Maybe you do some of these, too… Here is an example

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