This may sound really obvious, but having gotten to know Izmir over a couple of weeks, the sheer size of Istanbul is striking. I’ve come to expect trips around Izmir via public transportation taking between 30-60 minutes, but our frequent travels to the European side of Istanbul typically took about 60-90 minutes, and our trip back from Emirgan took about 2 hours. So, I spend a lot of time on buses, ferries, taxis, and the dolmus (the erratically driving but frequently running minibus), which gave me some time to catch up on reading. Of these various forms of transportation, I loved riding the ferry from Kadıköy on the Asian side to Beşiktaş, near the Golden Horn, which provided beautiful views of Istanbul’s most famous sights – the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sofia, and Topkapi Palace.
Besides being much bigger than Izmir, there seem to be more English speakers in Istanbul, probably due to all the tourists as well as international citizens. Despite being an obvious Turk, people would frequently speak to the BF in English, either due to my presence or his American accent while ordering Starbucks drinks (though the menu is the same as in the US, Turks pronounce some of the words differently, so if you’re an American reading the English menu items, the Turkish baristas aren’t likely to understand your order until you repeat yourself). It was also pleasantly cool most of the time, in the 70’s during the day, and often quite chilly by the water or on the ferry.
Another neighborhood I loved was Bebek (which means baby), an upscale area right by the Bosphorus, where I enjoyed the views from what is probably the world’s best Starbucks location – right on the water.
This is likely my last post before I leave Turkey and head back to the US on Wednesday, since starting tomorrow (Monday) we’ll be staying at the BF’s sister’s summer house in Urla (outside of Izmir), and there’s no internet connection. However, I still have some things about this trip that I want to post about, so I plan on publishing at least a couple of more posts after I return. Also, I’ve hit my monthly upload limit on flickr, so I’ll post some more pictures from the trip in July. To many of you reading – görüşürüz – see you!