20-23 August, 2011

I’ve had the good fortune to visit many of the world’s great cities including New York, Paris, Beijing, Sydney, London etc. Of course there are some I’m yet to get to so I am not a leading authority on great cities of the world by any means.

Istanbul, in my humble opinion, would have to rank in the top two or three great cities of the world.

On Saturday I caught a ferry from Europe to Asia, had a walk around and some dinner, then caught a bus back to Europe. The fares for this trip would not have been more than 6 euros. And all the time I remained in the same city.

This place also oozes more history than most cities can boast and water views that are probably second only to Sydney’s. There’s an old town and a modern business district. There are traditional bazaar’s and the latest high fashion shops. I doubt there is anything you could not buy here. Narrow, winding, cobbled streets and modern freeways.

I’m staying inside the original walled city close to the Marmara Sea and the Golden Horn. This is a popular tourist area. My hotel luckily is in more of a residential section. It is not far to walk to the popular tourist sights. There are so many hotels and restaurants all around and many European tourists. The most commonly heard languages apart from Turkish have been Italian, German and English. There are also many American accents among the tourists.

I’ve done plenty of walking over the past few days. Down streets that look interesting, around corners that may reveal more of this city’s hidden secrets.

I have done some of the tourist sights also. They are popular for good reason. The food has been excellent and not expensive. Ramadan has not created any impediments.

Still a couple more sights and restaurants to get to tomorrow with luck.

On Wednesday fingers crossed the Family Truckster will be ready and I’ll head out of Istanbul to explore more of this fascinating country. But if not, another night or two in Istanbul is just fine by me.

There are many photos which I will post over the next couple of days. To start with let me share the views from the terrace on the top of the hotel.

Update: It was one of the highlights of my Turkey motorcycle tour spending some time off the Family Truckster and getting to know the grand and historic city of Istanbul.  Since being there I’ve become an avid watcher of any TV programs regarding Turkish history, particularly those about Istanbul.  I’m really looking forward to re-acquainting my myself with this great city very soon.