Having spent nearly a month in Ankara in 2004, I left Turkey hungry for more. Quiet, modern, the Capital city is pleasant, but it is absolutely no match for Istanbul. Lively, youthful. explosive, Istanbul puts New York City in its pockets.
Eight years later, I returned to Turkey to explore its most historic and cultural city. At best, ten long summer days were enough to skim through Istanbul’s table of contents, its touristy attractions. Next time around, one hopes to explore its myriad neighborhoods, bookstores, and cultural centers.
Istanbul is a city of dissolving “paradoxes:” flows of beer during Ramadan, girls in their tank tops by Mosques’ doorways, disco music during the Azan. Istanbul quite naturally reconciles these narratives, de-“polarizes” them. If you ask locals, they would point to a picture of Ataturk!