I have never been to Turkey, but with thanks to my trusty fellow gadabout, sponsor, and friend, Anthony, I was able to take part in this new adventure – and Istanbul certainly is a great introduction. I had some apprehensions about going because of the conflicts going on in the region but they seem to be unfounded based on our first day in this so far surprising city. I flew in from Amsterdam into Turkey’s newer Sabiha Gokcen Airport, on the Asian side, so I was able to take a look from this less-touristy side of the city, and didn’t notice anything too exciting but good highways, nice greenery, uniform mid-rise houses, and not too crazy drivers. (:
Once I got to our hotel and met up with Anthony, it wasn’t long before we ventured out to our first destination, the Basilica Cistern.
It being a Sunday, I was expecting there would be more people than usual, which indeed turned out to be true – what greeted us was an intimidating line of people snaking into the building. Even despite tour groups jumping the line in front of us, luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. Fascinating to be in a place made more famous by a James Bond movie – From Russia With Love filmed scenes here and coupled with how incredibly historic it is made seeing all of this really special.
Mind-boggling to think all of this dates back to 532 AD. Have always wanted to go to Istanbul ever since meeting someone in Washington DC who showed me pictures of his trip. More than 15 years later, I’m finally here.