Istanbul is a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells and people. Everywhere we venture into there is a crowd of varying facial features accompanied by the smell of kebabs or cigarette smoke and the sounds of traffic intermingled with the spoken dialect. We are befuddled by the exotic ethnic appearance of the locals and yet intrigued by their origin and how they came to be today one of the most exciting cities in the world.
The sights are plentiful and something to behold. The Aya Sofia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Basilica Cistern are noteworthy tourist attractions rich in history. But just walking down the streets and having locals stop you for a chat or just observing how these city dwellers go about their lives on a Friday night offered us a glimpse into modern day Istanbul, the model city for the Arab world.
We have seen both the best and worst of Istanbul and no other city will come close to delivering the sorts of experiences we have had in Istanbul.