Last night we caught the night bus back to Thessaloniki Greece. We’ve had such a good time in Istanbul and feel we got to know the city quite well. We did the usual tourist things then walked and walked. We explored all sorts of interesting neighbourhoods. We walked up one side of the Golden Horn. We walked up a good chunk of the European side of the Bosporus. We took the ferry, rode the city buses, trams and metro. There’s a card for that which made this an easy method of getting about. We had our favourite Turkish delight shop, same for wine – the owners of both shops quickly came to know what we wanted before we even entered. We had our favourite take out food place, and of course our fish place by the bridge.
We encountered no problems worse than saying no to cheeky carpet sellers. Twice we came across police and crowds of noisy men shouting and running. We just turned and went in the opposite direction. Never heard anything about either event on the local news so remain clueless.
We had our hair cut at a very odd little place – good thing hair grows! Not the best cuts we’ve ever had. We mailed parcels home to ourselves and had fun at the post office. No one spoke English there but everyone was willing to help us out. As we showed up with our stuff in a couple of plastic bags this included getting us boxes and taping the contents up…. For no extra charge by the way. Can’t see Canada Post being quite so helpful.
So, here we are back in dirty, dilapidated Northern Greece. Such a marked difference in attitude, and activity level. No one here has a carpet to sell and even if they did they’d likely not bother to ask if we wanted to buy it. Those Turks hustle customers to buy a coffee. The Greeks sigh if a customer enters their coffee shop because they have to then go to the trouble of making a coffee or two….
Ten days in Istanbul was however enough. It is a busy, crowded (17million), noisy city. It is also mostly beautifully looked after. Yes there are rubbishy bits (but work is on going on those parts) yes there is some garbage around (but there are numerous street cleaners) yes some of their side walks could do with some work (and in many places that work is being done). There is pride. The smallest parks and the largest are tidy, there is no graffiti, weeds are pulled, flowers are planted, shrubs and trees are trimmed. Here – not so much – there is no evidence of pride here at all and it shows.
Some parting shots from Istanbul.