It took us three uninteresting cycling days and a two hour ferry to reach the busy metropolis of Istanbul. We settled in a small and nice budget hotel right below the famous blue mosque, in a touristic but quiet part of the city and near the shore.
The part of the city is called Sultanameth and is the historic centre of the former Ottoman empire. Places like the Topkapi palace, the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque are just a five minutes' walk away.
We stun with the breathtaking beauty of these places, as with the millions of little shops in the bazars and streets. How on earth can all these people make a living, selling similar stuff in similar little shops for similar prices. As if every third person in this city owns a shop and every second a restaurant or köfte büfe.
All in all we find Istanbul a buzzling place, combining old tradition and state of the art modernity, with very busy but also very quiet places and, for sure, not unagreeable at all. Kind people and relaxed atmosphere. Three and a half day of walking around and inhaling all these impressions filled us up completeley.
Tomorrow we'll use a ferry/cruise boat on the Bosporus to take us north out of the city and towards the Black Sea. After disembarkation we'll only have to cycle some 20 k before we'll reach our next destination, the town of Riva on the Black Sea coast. Stage two of this trip will have started then.
Below: View from Galata bridge and Water pipe ladies.