The Bosporus calm waves tune accompanied by the melodious azan, the chattering of youth with their (somewhat-interesting) language and smells of kebab along the way. Ah, I can never miss to take a lay-over in Istanbul in any chance. I have visited Istanbul Turkey many times, to which my friends always wonder why. Let me explain “Why”. But before you scroll any further, please remember what Albert Einstein said that “Everything is Relative”.
Beyond those variation, the quality and maximum serving effort with witty personality always amazed me. Generous portion, delicious and affordable price (not in Bebek area). No tips are totally fine! Yet they serve sincerely which for sure knocks my tipping instinct. I know every culture has different tipping culture. But in my opinion, tips should be a reward determined by the customer.
Turkey is famous for its long duration big breakfast. I was confused how to start at first. They do it for socializing, gathering with relatives/friends more than for regular everyday breakfast. Take your time, enjoy the conversation, balance the heavy food with fresh vegetables. In the end, you will be surprised how many empty plates on your table.
2. TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
Integrated, cheap and convenient. Comfortable fast bus less than 30 Liras from and to both Sabiha Gokcen (schedule here) and Istanbul Airport (schedule here) are provided. Taxi can also be your alternative. Inside the city, you can use metro train, Marmaray (train crossing Bosporus strait underground), tram, metro bus (fast bus with anti-traffic-jam track), regular bus, and ferry with only one Istanbul card. Complete transportation map here. Istanbul municipality is aware that they are the third largest population in a city in the world. So they keep developing on transportation.
3. MAJESTIC ATMOSPHERE
I knew nothing about its geographical condition nor history, and didn’t bother googling because I want to get a naked impression. Yet, Istanbul ties me to an addiction. The city where the Black sea meets the Marmaray sea, its narrow strait Bosporus divides the continent, makes Istanbul located both in Asia and Europe. Super rich and generous nature I must say, surrounded by Kocaeli mountain with five distinct seasons.
Had been the capital city of three giant empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman), it is located in strategic location. You can’t call it middle eastern nor Europe nor Asia. There was one quote from Napoleon Bonaparte “If the Earth were a single state, Constantinople (Istanbul) would be its capital. You may will be surprised reading its history.
Despite its political situation and who-knows-when-it-ends Corona pandemic, I would love to visit Istanbul again. Culture richness, geographical contour and its eye spoiling majestic view are so addictive. But hopefully the municipality put a bit more attention to the littering behavior. Such a great legacy should have not been annoyed by the ignorance of modern people with less care for the environment. I miss Istanbul now. Let me check if I am lucky enough to get a flight ticket discount.