I envied the other guests at my Airbnb lodging who had a full week to explore Istanbul, whereas I had just a few days during which I seriously mismanaged my time. Some diversions (i.e. seeing The xx perform at an outdoor concert with my hosts and other guests) were completely worth it while others (i.e. attempting to ship things home on my last day and finding that all post and Fedex offices were mysteriously closed), not so much. But taking a glass half-full approach, this means I'll have a lot to do when I return, which I hope is soon because Istanbul is one of my favorite cities on the trip so far.
1. Lights for sale at the Grand Bazar.
2. The Basilica Cistern. It reminded me of the underground lake in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince but instead of dead bodies floating beneath the surface there were carp, some of which were curiously large. (What do they eat? Each other? Unfortunate tourists that fall in?) It was a strange atmosphere - a damp semidarkness punctuated by blinding camera flashes and ominous classical music playing from hidden speakers.
3. Inside the Blue Mosque.
4. The Hagia Sophia - one of many filming locations for The Fall. I got frustrated trying to capture its grandeur and splendor on my camera, so ended up making many laps around both the lower and upper levels just to take it all in.
5. View from Galata Tower. Tried to be up there around sunset but my timing was way off.