Istanbul is at the crossroads of the old world and history. Once called Constantinople and the center of Christianity, it was the capital of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the Latin Empire. In 1453, the Ottoman Turks captured the city, renamed it Istanbul, and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire and the Muslim world. It lies on two continents and three strategic waterways. And it’s a very cool place to visit!
I arrived here on Wednesday and have spent most of the time in bed with a cold but I was able to hit the highlights – the mosques and public markets — and enjoy the incredible food here.
Today, I took a ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul for a special walking tour with Emrah, a professor of urban planning and architecture at a local university. We were in the vibrant neighborhood of Kadikoy, away from the tourist center in Sultanhamet. Emrah explained Kadikoy’s diversity — mostly Turks, Armenians, Kurds, Iranians, and Germans — and its counter-culture history. One of my favorite Kadikoy businesses is “Walter’s Coffee.” Walter refers to the protagonist of Breaking Bad, and the cafe has a coffee “lab” and yellow jumpsuits that you can put on for a selfie.
Emrah’s knowledge and fascinating stories make me want to return to Istanbul when I don’t have a cold. He has three more walking tours! But I have a flight to Beirut in the morning.
In Istanbul, I met a man who said he knew beyond a doubt that God was a cat. I asked why he was so sure, and the man said, ‘When I pray to him, he ignores me.’ – Lowell Thomas
Happy new year Kim! I loved reading this article and enjoyed your pictures. I hope you get over your cold quickly and enjoy the rest of your travel adventure! Stay safe !
Hi Bill, Thanks so much and happy new year.
Sounds like your journey has started off well despite your cold. Istanbul does sound incredible and undoubtably could consume many days of your time with all its attractions.
Your photos are brilliant and made me hungry for the food you’re enjoying, interested in the sites you had seen and, of course, wanting to see the kitties in charge of running the city.
Hope you keep posting updates on your trip in the days to come!
Yes there is a lot here! And yes, I will keep writing
Hola and very happiest of holidays my dear. Hope you feel much better, soon. Thanks for the fascinating peek into Istanbul, and enjoy the rest of your travels. Beirut should be fun, too. Feliz año nuevo!!
Thanks Sandy! Happy New Year and I hope your Oaxaca trip was enlightening!
Happy New Year wherever you are!
Thanks! And where are you these days?
Wen are in Denver, leaving for Arizona on Wednesday 🙂
Great post Kim and Happy New Year! I loved Istanbul when I visited in 2011. Did you visit the island that is full of cats? I can’t remember the name. I noticed all the cats too and like Vic, like the thought of them running the city. The walking tour sounds wonderful. Enjoy Beirut! Oh! And I love the Lowell Thomas quote.
Hi Barb, I think the island is Princes Island? Hope you had a nice holiday Gramma! xoxox
Always a joy to hear from you, Kim 🙂 That’s quite a large Turkish breakfast. I imagine it’s to be shared. My Brazilian friend also fell in love with Istanbul.
Yes you’re right!! I’m traveling on my own but they gave me the plate for two. And they asked me how I wanted my omelet and croissant, which I declined !
So sorry about your cold. Yes, Turkish food is delish. I love getting a vicarious thrill from your travels. Please keep the posts coming!
I’m healthy today! Hope you are feeling better too. Thank you….
I hope you’re headed to Cappadocia.
I tried! I even bought the tickets but the highs in Cappadocia this week are in the low 40s and that’s just too cold for a California native since hiking and riding were my objectives!
Happy new year! Have you seen the lovely Turkish documentary Kedi about the cats in Istanbul? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kedi_(2016_film)
Looking forward to hearing tales from Lebanon…
I’d never heard of it but I’ll watch it now!
Oh, as usual, Kim, magnificent photos of fascinating and colorful places. We love your descriptions of the food, cats and vibrant environment of this magnificent historically significant city–we were there in 2003, a propitious time when Bush bombed Iraq! We loved all of Turkey. Hope you get over your cold, stay safe and continue having outstanding adventures, meeting kind and interesting people along the Camino Milagro. Hope to connect back in San Miguel when you return. We are there until Feb. 28th. Abrazos! P.S. Just read Anthony Doerr’s Cloud Cuckoo Land, in which old Istanbul plays a big role.
See you when I return! Still want to read Cloud Cuckoo Land! xoxo
Hi Kim Happy New Year and travels!
Istanbul reminds me of Rumi and the Sufis.
I just celebrated my 5th year anniversary of living in Mexico.
Vivir la vida.
felicidades David — hope to see you in San Miguel one of these days!
love the pics. Forwarded to a Turkish friend and to a nomadic cousin-sorry abt cold (no fun ever but especially when traveling
Hi Nancy — interested to hear from your nomadic cousin. Strangely in 7 years I have met very few. I know there are many out there!
Oh Kim!, so good to hear from you.. If there is one place I want to visit, it is Turkey, Istanbul. I feel like I lived there in a former lifetime. Enjoy for me. Love, Me’irah
It is a remarkable place and I’m so glad I had at least one day off the tourist circuit. I love it even more. xoxox
Another lovely story Kim. I’m sorry about you being sick. When I saw you had a place in Mexico I thought maybe you were planning on settling down. Take good care and have a great 2023 and beyond.
Hi Ahoi, I am testing whether I can settle down! I found a short term renter for my house this month and we’ll see how much I miss being normal. xoxox
Istanbul looks and sounds amazing. We may be spending a few days there this fall and your pictures make me more excited to see it. Maggie
I know you will love it!
I hope you had a happy Mew Year!
Same to you!
Oh yeah, it took me too long to get the joke! Anyway, it was purrfect.
Your travel logs are amazing, Kim. I love reading them. With regard to Istanbul, Dave and I spent a magical week in and around Istanbul many years ago. Thanks for these postings.
Thanks Carol! I am in Beirut right now with SOOO much to report but the wifi here won’t let me create a post! So maybe by Friday. Big hugs and happy new year!