The Turkey part of our journey starts with Istanbul.
The city is above all “big”. 20 million inhabitants and everyone seems to drive a car and honk the horn all the time. The fact that we are located near the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar makes this situation even worse. After the tranquil Odessa we feel slightly stressed. We walk through the city and almost forget that we are only visitors besides the Asian tourist groups. And who can blame us all: Istanbul is absolutely worth seeing. The Hagia Sophia is beautiful. The baklava is delicious and tastes like more. But it only became really beautiful when we got to know the un-touristic places with Ilke.
Ilke is a distant relative of mine whom I had recently contacted to see if she would like to have a cup of coffee with me. This turned into several days of full-time care with all the trimmings: She showed us some beautiful corners of the city.
One highlight was a night on the island of Büyükada, we talked about God, politics and the world, drank red wine and ate mezze and looked out to sea. Have you ever eaten thyme salad? So a salad where thyme (pickled, I think) is the main ingredient and not the spice? Fabulous.
We spontaneously extended our stay in Istanbul first by one night, then by another. This is one of the advantages of our way of travelling: we can react spontaneously.