Istanbul from a different point of view

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Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul
September 9th 2011
Published: September 9th 2011
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Istanbul is a huge city and it is difficult to gain a sense of fully understanding the city due to the complexity of it all. According Lonely Planet, in Istanbul there are between 12-19 million people (this is double size of whole Sweden or almost like whole Australia 😊), but the locals say the figure is close to 16 million. We were lucky enough to find a host whom is not in the touristic area and it takes one hour drive to the city (JUST around 30km), and it is still same city, crazy huh. This area was has been recently built to accommodate the growing population which is close to Sariyer and 15 minutes from the black sea. This area is surrounded by forest and sea, and quite calm compare to other areas in Istanbul. We made sure that we had a decent around this area, and don’t spend all the days in the city center. It was nice to stay out of the tourists and crowds, and just to take easy and get know the Turkish culture better.

September is a perfect time to visit Istanbul. It is around +30 degrees and according Turkish people it is cold already. Well we did have a great laugh because this is one of the best summer days in Scandinavia. It is almost too warm to walk around the city in this weather 😊
The transportation was quite hard to work out because everything is in Turkish and surprisingly few people speak English in the non-touristic areas. But all people are really friendly and ready to help with body language 😊 Mini busses which are 1.50 paying with only cash, normal busses 1.75 using only a token card which is also for the metro and the boats.

Our host did take us to a really nice place called Belgrad Ormani Forest. We couldn’t believe that it was so calm and on our walk we saw only two other people, it is hard to believe that around this Forest is 16 million others. This forest has a nice restaurant, walking track, a lake and fresh air. It was great to see a different part of Istanbul.

We did really enjoy the food in Turkey and we have tried all kind of food but we don’t remember all the names. Of course kebab is one of the national meals. What it was most interesting try is a desert which has the main ingredient - chicken… yeah you did read right – a chicken!! Believe or not but it was amazing desert, yammi.

Well sometimes is hard to believe that you’re in Turkey because it is like other Europe countries but when you’re walking through the streets and see women with the mantles, and through the window hear the praying so you do understand that you’re in Turkey. Somehow we did associate Muslims with Middle East countries and Turkey like a European country which included some percent of Muslims but 98% of population is Muslims was unexpected number. It seems that in Turkey the religion isn’t strict thing and you can find really different Muslims. Through you see many ladies who are wearing light cloths and it is why the government has a big complicit how they should have in the country, and it does exist different opinions about. To be a tourist and wear European light cloths isn’t always easy because you get all attention and some people don’t like it. Diana did wear a pair of shorts and we did hear that an old lady did disagreement about the cloths noise.

Still it is hard to understand why Turkey is mentioned like an European country but you do need a visa to enter the country. As well they are playing basketball in Eurobasket and everyone thinks that Turkey is a part of Europe.

It was difficult to hear that in the east Turkey there is a war now and every day many people dies. Well we didn’t read anything in the media but in the Turkey is big news. It is hard to understand that 3-4 hours away is a war. Maybe we did most disappoint that the media in other countries don’t write about it.
It seems that Turkey has many stereotypes and people believe it but when you enter the country and see the real Turkish people, we don’t believe in the stereotypes anymore. In common the Turkish people are friendly, open-minded, trying to do business but don’t hassling too much!

So three days down and three to go… the city (tourist) centre…

Additional photos below
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9th September 2011

Cool picture.
10th September 2011

Im off to Istanbul in November, so thanks for the preview! :) Mel(one of the moderators, who is currently in Bangkok, and not logged into TravelBlog)

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