What a day, what a day. I left lovely Amman behind for Istanbul, one of the greatest and largest cities in the world (plus, the only one to straddle two continents). The flight was quick and easy, just how I like it, despite my alarming lack of sleep the night before. After arriving at Ataturk Airport, I was able to catch the metro and tram into Sultanahmet, a beautiful district of the city with tons of great sites. This is the point where we need to establish the fact that this city is big...I mean REALLY big. It is home to well over million people and is over 2,000 square miles. I honestly have never seen this many people condensed in one place. It's pretty overwhelming.
After getting settled, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit an old family friend who has recently moved here. Ian and I met for lunch at a cafe near his work where we ate delicious pastries and enjoyed people watching and catching up. Following that, he invited me to come visit the English classes he teaches here in the city. I had an amazing time speaking with his students and getting to know more about Istanbul from their perspective. They gave me great advice about where to go and what to eat around the city. Finally, we headed over to Taksim square where we met up with Ian's girfriend, Jen, and her fellow teacher, Begum. We had great fun watching live music and enjoying the mass amounts of people out on the town.
I stayed out surprisingly late for someone who received about an hour of sleep the night before, but we were having a good time in this amazing city. After finding our way back to Taksim Square from the maze that is Istaklal Street, we found that the furnicular and metro that were supposed to get me back home were closed. What the heck?! In a city with this many people, you'd think they would run at all hours of the night. Luckily, we had Begum, who is from Turkey, with us to find out where we should go and how best to get there. We caught a bus and then a taxi together to get back to my district. A quick jump into my comfy clothes later and I was OUT. What a great introduction to this city. Loving it so far :)