A satellite view of Istanbul and the Bosporus, connecting both continents
I spent 10 days in Istanbul, a city I had shortly known in 2007 and which intrigued and interested me that much, that I absolutely wanted to go back there.
This time I just want to show you my pictures and personal impressions, the historical story you can read in full here in Wikipedia/Istanbul
I was very impressed by the very good organization of everything. Public transport and Museum entrances, we were always checked with a scanner to avoid smuggeling a little bomb into a mosque or a museum. Of what I have seen during the 10 days in Istanbul, the city is very clean, and even as a woman you feel safe, nobody ever had bothered my girlfriend or me and when we needed help to find a street, people were really very helpful, which was not at all the case when I was in Athenes ! Even the young girls who stayed in our hotel went out dancing and came back late and had never had any troubles
Impossible to cheat with the transport ticket !
You first have to buy a token for 1.75 Turkish Lira which corresponds to about 0.50 € cents and with this you can ride in the tram from one end to the other or as I loved to say : "I take the tram today to go from Europe to Asia", as the tram crossed the bridge between these two continents. I found that sounded very posh.
The tram has also air conditionning, and I have to say that men are far more polite than in Belgium, the majority stood up to leave me their place. Also the younger boys or girls, which never happens here !
Strange is that along one of the main streets pieces of roman colons and rocks are laying, a sign of a glorious past. They are too heavy to be taken away so they built the street around them and you can see them from the tramway.
There are also parts of the city wall. The mixture between very old and very modern is amazing.
In front of one of the Universities, there are always lots of people, young old and of all nationalities.
Here we saw some University professors take a break in the park. At the entry our handbag was also scanned. We found this very good, at least you feel safe everywhere.
People are very mixed, here is a young couple in love, a little further a women completely covered from head to feet in black looking like a black crow. They are not well liked at all.
My friend Dominique watching a young mother in Jeans and besides another one with a long dress and a scarf. I personally think that most of the women wear a scarf not because of their religion, but because of the sun and the dust. I wore one too, only I knotted it differently. The scarfs are mostly very colorful and fit to the clothes. You wear them even with very tight jeans and T-shirts. It's all very multi cultural.
Everywhere something to buy, but you are not harassed like in Arabian countries.
There were lots of wooden houses, which are now getting restored and brought back to their initial beauty.
and everywhere a cheerful atmosphere
I found this golden shoe shining "machine" beautiful and very special ! Unfortunately I wore no shoes but sandals.
Policemen are very well equipped and don't need to walk anymore
The place Sultanameth where all tourists go, to see the Blue Mosque, Topkapi and St. Sophie and also can take Sightseeing buses. For 20 € you can use them the whole day and hop on and off at some stops. They take you all around the city, over the bridge to the Asian side where all Embassies, and other international institutions are located. There are also catholic churches and Synagogues there. Our waiter told us that he lives besides a mosque and is awoken by the loudspeaker of the mosque calling for prayers, while his brother lives besides a catholic church and complains about the bells !
the very busy place Sultanameth
There were firemen in front of the ancient mosque and now museum, Hagia Sophia, when we crossed the place, but we didn't know what had happened.
I loved the colorful houses
and the huzzle and buzzle in the streets
The new train station
and the old one, where Agatha Christie arrived when she had written her Orient Express murder.
Graveyards along the streets but behind a wall. I just looked through a hole and took the pictures
such different architecture
You won't starve, there are these little colorful wagons everywhere. They sold grilled corn, cookies, and turkish specialities. The guy below on the left is a water carrier. He distributed fresh water.
Our favourite drink was the "Apple Tea" it has a delicious taste, very different from the Lipton's bags of apple tea I get here. You can drink it hot or cold. In both cases it's very refreshing.
This was "our" favorite snackbar where we had lunch almost every day. With water we spent 3 turkish liras which is around 1.50 € (2.14$ !)
Here I am eating my "Döner" it is like a crepe filled with chicken and vegetables. Delicious
Most of the guests were Turkish, that's why it was probably so cheap and good. Tourist places are as everywhere in the world not so good and mostly very expensive too. We also wanted to eat Turkish food and not what we eat at home.
A grandma with her granddaughters
and a "ghost" chatting on her mobile, while her little boy hugs his little sister.
This is only a general view of Istanbul and my first post. Others will follow.
I really loved this huge city of about 14 million inhabitants. Roughly 70% of all Istanbulites live in the European section and around 30% in the Asian section.