My experience in Istanbul was possibly different than most, having a friend who’s living there, and able to play tour guide for me. (Not to mention his Turkish is on point)
*Fun story: having a beard of decent length called the attention of many Turkish people, which they gave me the nickname “Haji” which is the title given to a Muslim who has successfully completed his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. This turned out to be nice as I wasn’t hassled as I walked around they city.
And the Blue Mosque, which is located directly across from the Ayasofya.
Another excursion along the way was a hamam, traditional Turkish bath. I must say, you’ve never had a bath until you’ve experienced this. The bathing process includes an exfoliating type scrubbing which removes all dead skin, leaving you “truly” squeaky clean.
To speak more about the city of Istsnbul here it is in a nutshell. There are feral cats and stray dogs everywhere.
However, they do have great public transportation options including, taxis, buses, trams, metro and ferries. Which were all very convenient and worked together on one system, like the Clipper Card we have in the Bay Area. As mentioned, the population of Istanbul is out of hand, leaving you packed liked sardines on most pubtrans options throughout the the day. One traffic solution I found smart, was that some bus lines on the freeways had their on lane (pictured below) in the middle of the freeway to bypass all traffic.
Lastly, I’d like to thank, first and foremost, Toby, for taking the time to show me the magic of Istanbul, and giving me a place to stay. I’d also like to thank my new friends (pictured below, and Jan) for creating amazing memories which will surely last a lifetime!
Teşekkür! (Thank you)