Istanbul is an amazing city. Those who know my love for San Francisco are surprised that for the first time I wondered why my Turkish friends in San Francisco, decided to leave Istanbul.
I have been to Istanbul before and was eager to show it to Nami and SORA. We stayed in a pretty nice design/boutique hotel in a plush area of Istanbul. The European side of Istanbul appears a lot more advanced/progressive than its Asian side. Like many major cities in the world, there are pretty rich areas of town, and some poor areas. Not so surprising though. When I go a few miles to the South side of Chicago, I find life very different from the North side of Chicago. The beauty of the poorer areas in Istanbul is that I felt absolutely welcomed, and safe. So much so, that I took Nami and SORA for a tour.
Once we left Tehran, I told Nami that would only eat sea food in Istanbul as I was tired of all the (delicious) meat we had in Iran. Lo and behold, our hotel recommended a great Kebab restaurant to us on our first day, where we ended up going three times. The Bazaar has now become a tourist Mecca, worth avoiding or not spending longer than an hour there. The ferry rides are inexpensive, and fun. People welcoming and hospitable as ever.