Istanbul, not Constantinople! (Part 2)
There was a definite air of chaos about the place.
Take the taxis for example. They drove like lunatics. I felt it was closer to a Formula One race than a taxi ride. There was a constant battle between drivers trying to occupy any available space on the road. Speed limits? Road markings? Seat belts? They were more like optional extras. You would be lucky if the drivers left more than an inch between cars. And if the car in front of you were to hit the brakes? You're gone, guaranteed.
Needless to say, I decided that the metro was the wiser route back to the airport.
It still amazes me how much sightseeing can be done in a day. After a two hour cruise on the Bosphorus it wasn't even noon. So there was plenty of time to explore the city.
Istanbul truly is the bridge between East and West. From the water you'd almost be forgiven for thinking you were in a Mediterranean coastal city (Think red roof tiles in Italy). Almost. If it weren't for the 2000 mosques. No matter where you look you're sure to see countless minarets poking up through the city's skyline.
But when you're walking through the streets there can be no doubt. Between the sounds of the call to prayer playing from the minarets, the smell of fresh spices being sold on the street, the carpet vendors haggling with tourists and the Byzantine architecture. This is Istanbul, the ancient crossroads of the world.
It's a true melting pot. Ancient and Modern, Christian and Islamic, East and West, Europe and Asia, Roman, Greek and Ottoman. I'll be back for sure, but I don't think I'll get back in one of those taxis!
Here's some pictures!
Now, to Nairobi! (The flight's only been delayed by 5 hours!)