Capital of empires, crossroads of Europe and Asia, few cities in the world can come close to matching Istanbul’s history. Yet with an enormous population of nearly 14 million, it’s far from being only a center for history, rather it’s a vibrant, living and breathing center of life today, something like a hybrid of New York and Rome.
Also, as with a trip to Rome or New York, Istanbul presents the visitor with an excess of world class things to do and see. For me that meant a break from my regular laid back way of seeing the world and an attempt to cram as much into my short time there as possible.
This endeavor was greatly aided by my hosts, who despite only being distantly connected friends of friends, showered me with incredible hospitality. On the first night alone I was treated to a delicious dinner, the country’s best baklava and smoking at a famous hookah bar. That in addition to a walking tour where I was able to take in the most famous sights and catch my first glimpses of the famous Bosporus and Golden Horn.
The rest of my time in Istanbul was spent seeing just a few of the most famous destinations in the city. At the top of my to do list was the famous Hagia Sophia. Widely considered one of the world’s crowning architectural achievements, this cathedral turned mosque turned museum had long be at the top of my to see list.
I could go on with a laundry list of other things I saw while there, but that’s not my style. That’s not to say the sights weren’t worth mentioning, but as is so often the case the highlight of the trip was the people I met, not the walls I saw. Of course, this post hardly does either the walls or people justice, but it’s travel season and I have a lot to share. Next up, another switch of continents, be back soon…