Thursday, July 30, 2015


Istanbul from the plane

This is a big city. I thought Paris was big. Paris had a population of 2.2 million people. That made Portland and its 600k seem tiny.  Istanbul has a population of 14 million. I can't even wrap my head around that. The city seems to spread out in every direction, spilling from the core of Old Town out over endless hills and even across bodies of water.

Paris for us was the city of stairs. Our part of Istanbul was the neighborhood of stairs.  Our apartment was in Cihangar, not far from Taksim Square, described by The Independent as 'the symbolic focal point of the whole country.'  We had a great view of the Bosphorus Strait. We were right on the hillside overlooking the water. Getting anywhere from there required climbing. My fitbit had not yet logged my target number of steps the first day, but in two trips out to the market, I had already logged 27 staircases. I decided that people must be in excellent physical condition to live there.

Anna was not in excellent physical condition for most of our stay in Istanbul. After puking all over the airplane, she woke up the next day feeling week and headachey.  I got to stay home with her our first Istanbul day, enjoying the view from our windows and the fans blowing the cool apartment air over us. It was actually a nice break. I even took a little nap. Paris really wore me out.

Anna remained under the weather the rest of our time in Istanbul. We dragged her out the second day. We visited Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. We drank yummy lemonade with mint leaves. We didn't see everything on my list, but Anna was worn out by the end.

The weather in Istanbul was hot, like it had been in Paris, but it cooled off nicely at night. The first couple of nights we opened the windows and let the breeze cool the apartment. Unfortunately, the breeze brought in thirsty turkish mosquitoes, hungry for the blood of unsuspecting tourists. They would wake us in the night diving toward our ears and buzzing like miniature kamakaze airplanes.  They feasted on William, sleeping closest to the windows overlooking the Bosphorus. He must have the tastiest blood they'd ever found.  He had at least 50 bites after two nights.  We learned to keep the windows closed and rely on the little ac unit and fans to keep the temperature bearable.

A prayer alcove in the tile section of the archaeology museum

We ended up taking things pretty easy in Istanbul. With the mosquitoes keeping us awake the first two nights and Anna feeling sick, we didn't push too hard. We let William choose our second day of touring. He wanted the archaeology museum. We spent a good afternoon there, dodging construction to see the best of the displays.  We followed that up with a mini Bosphorus cruise that most of us enjoyed but made Anna seasick. I took her to the padded seats on the lower deck where the view wasn't as good and that helped a little.

So, that was it for our Istanbul touring adventure. We saw about half the things on my list, but Anna felt better by the time we left.  I was satisfied.

1 comment:

Mumzie said...

Wow! What an amazing city! Sao Paulo has about 22 million people in it and its close suburbs. Yes, it's hard to imagine! I'm sorry Anna got sick, but I guess the rest of you didn't catch whatever she had. All those stair stories make me very tired. I'm glad you got to kind of rest in Istanbul.