We arrived in Istanbul at 10:45 am on Monday morning after leaving our Dar es Salam hotel room at 1:00 am. Tired and worn out would be an understatement.
However, the Istanbul airport, passport control, currency exchange and the taxi stand were all easy to navigate and it seemed we were driving into Istanbul within minutes after our airplane touched down.
Within five minutes our taxi was driving on a six-lane limited access parkway on a non-potholed asphalt road, with a green grass and tree park on our right and then the Sea of Marmara to the horizon and on the left the ruins of a Roman fortress wall and high rise buildings behind the wall. We both had the same thoughts about the extremes we had just lefted and arrived. It reminded us of leaving Ecuador and Peru after two plus months and arriving in Buenos Aires: rough to easy. This was the same: rough, interesting, and at the same time would not trade the time or memories of Uganda/Tanzania for anything to western living and ease.
Within a half hour of leaving the airport we were checking into our hotel located about half way between the Blue Mosque and the water. We were early and our room wasn’t ready so we sat down to Turkish coffee and a 30-minute desk top tour of Sulanahmet, New Town, and Asia – all parts of the incredible city of Istanbul.
Our room was small in comparison to our Tazanian/Ugandian living quarters. We were two flights up and one and half flights below the roof top breakfast restaurant that looks out on the Sea or the Blue Mosque or Aya Sofya.
Paris has always been the City I have wanted to live in. However, after four days in Istanbul I believe it is now a toss up between the two Cities as to which has first place in my heart and mind.
Istanbul in a fascinating city that I don’t believe I could ever become bored with. Twisting, winding, sidewalk filled, and fascinating streets; architectural of every style and time period; so many shops no one person could visit them all in a single life time; people of every faith and both eastern and western cultures; buildings and infrastructure that defies my mind as to how they
could have been built a thousand or more years ago; the calls to prayer and the constant hum of a hundred conversation surrounding you; the sea always just around the corner; and food that only India can beat but with lamb dishes no one can beat. The city is thousand of years old and at the same time as modern as any in the world. Yes, I am in love with Istanbul and will make every effort to return.