By the time I had landed and gone through customs in Istanbul it was 8 PM. My Turkish friend, Melek, met me at the airport and we took the bus to Taksim Square on the European side and walked down Beyoglu, which had a
Chinatown mixed with a busy Paris street feel to it. You walk down the street because there are no car (although you do want to miss getting hit by the trolley) and on both sides of the street you have clothing stores, ice cream shops, nightclubs, and outdoor seating restaurants. It was kind of exciting being there with all the people as we walked along towards my hotel that was right next
Galata Tower (I wrote about the tower two days ago, did you miss it? Maybe you should LIKE svGudingLight on Facebook so you don’t miss anything again). Once there we had dinner and then she had to get back home on the Asian side. It was a good introduction to Istanbul, but I did not see much that day.
My first FULL day in Istanbul on the other hand was a different story.
Melek took me on a boat tour on the Bosphorus, which separates the European side and the Asian side. The boat started at the west bridge
on the European side and went east to the 2nd bridge. From there we crossed over and came back on the Asian side. It was a fantastic way to get to know the city, because it was relaxing and you really got a feel for how important this body of water was for the city in the past. As you are steaming along next to the shore you see impressive homes, locals sunbathing and swimming, ruins of the old fort and walls, the vital bridges connecting both sides, and so much more.
This is another one of those things you only find out about if you have a local friend showing you around. So a big thank you to Melek for showing me your city for a week.
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