Like Tourists In Istanbul
July 17, 2014, Istanbul, Turkey: Istanbul is one of the world’s great cities, a historic treasure-trove, and an eclectic, diverse lifestyle option.
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
Two weeks anywhere isn't enough time to do anything more than be a tourist. You can't penetrate the surface of a place or gain any real insight into what it'd be like living there in a couple of weeks' time, so better simply to embrace your traveler role.
These past two weeks in Istanbul, our traveling caravan was enthusiastic and committed in our touring. We hiked hills like those in Montmartre, hopped trollies like those in San Francisco, to see palaces, churches, and mosques like nothing else anywhere. Versailles and Notre Dame pale alongside Dolmabahçe Palace and Hagia Sophia. This latter once-basilica, once-mosque, now museum is one of mankind's greatest architectural achievements, a kind of couldn't-we-all-just-get-along witness to this city's complicated religious history.
We toured the cisterns and the archeology museum and wandered through and around the parks and gardens of the former Hippodrome. We saw dervishes whirl and created custom tea blends in the Spice Bazaar.
We took a cruise from the city center 20 miles up the Bosphorus to the Black Sea. Tip: Don't believe your guidebook if it tells you either that this extended cruise isn't worth the time or that, taking the river cruise all the way to Anadolu Kavağı, its final stopping point, it's likewise not worth the investment to climb the hill to see the medieval ruins at the top. Both things are untrue. The cruise made for one of our most pleasant days and gave us perhaps our most relevant view of the entire trip. Istanbul owes its place in history to its unique water setting, so you should see it from the water. And, yes, once you've made the voyage to this point by boat, the hike up to the ruins at Anadolu Kavağı is worth the further 20 minutes. Why come all this way not to take those final few steps?