Today was pretty casual, we walked north to the Goleta Bridge and across over to the Goleta Tower on the north side of the Golden Horn. The streets on the north side are wider, and more modern, but the sheer number of people and cars and trams is still, to me, oppressive. I will be ready to go, I think, tomorrow. I’m looking forward to visiting Vienna later this week, and Prague next. I’ve enjoyed the time here, but as big cities go, it’s not a top one for me.
1. The only thing more prevalent than the faint-to-overpowering stench of cigarette smoke is the presence of Turkish flags. Both are everywhere and in-your-face obvious.
2. If you ever want to sit outside at a cafe, you will inhale smoke. Period. A lot of places discouraged smoking inside, which drove the large number of smokers to the outside tables. Too bad for non-smokers looking to dine al fresco.
3. Traffic in Fatih is insane.
4. The city overall is clean, with very little trash to be seen, and the smell (aside from the omnipresent cigarette smoke) is decent.
5. The crush of people in any public area is not for the claustrophobic faint of heart.
6. The airport is beyond huge. We walked over a mile from the plane to the exit upon arrival, including the discounts from using the sliding walkways.
7. Perhaps it’s the omnipresence of religion in general and Islam in specific,but I felt more out of place here than I have in any major city.
8. The coffee is good and inexpensive.
9. The beer is marginal and not inexpensive.
10. I don’t understand how 50 vendors of the same products can survive in a 100 meter stretch of street.
Bonus 11. I never felt unsafe or felt like I needed a money belt. All the people I encountered were friendly enough and respectful, despite the actions of governments.
And now, some photos of our last day. See ya in Budapest!