I have passed through Istanbul many times in the past several years and the experience was, more often than not, painful, tiring, and stressful. You see, the Ataturk Airport lies conveniently between Saudi Arabia and the western world. And while I have now found, after finally staying for a few days, that the city is quite nice, the airport is not. It is over crowded, unorganized, under construction, without wifi, and I usually find myself stranded there for no less than 6 hours with nothing to do but consume copious amounts of free Turkish delight from the displays in the duty free shop.
So, I was quite excited to finally get to leave the airport and explore the Turkish lands that I had so often passed over. We only had a few days to spend in the city, but we saw a. lot. I am trying to make sense and order of the gazillion photos that I took and I hope to share them with you soon.
As to the ongoing protests in Istanbul, I know very little. We did not have time to visit Taksim while we were in the city, though we were there just two weeks before the protests began. My heart goes out to the families of the injured and I hope that the chaos will not endure. Here is one amazing story regarding the protests.