4 of us had already obtained our Turkish visas for a ridiculous amount of money back home, and the other 4 simply walked up to the desk at the airport handed over $10 and had their visas without any hassle or photos.
Istanbul is the only city in the world to lie on two continents, Europe and Asia. The drive in is too foggy to see the Asian side. Because of the fog there is a long line of ships waiting to cross into the Black Sea.
Naval traffic through the strait is one of the largest in the world.
Golden Horn Bay deep divides European neighborhoods into two sectors: the old Constantinople, south and north New City, the neighborhoods Karaköy (Galata), Geyoglu (Pera), Katabaş, Taksim, Beşiktaş, Ortaköy and others more stretched deep landward or along the Bosphorus site.
There are 18 million people in Istanbul. A lot of the population was out fishing on this bridge we crossed on the way to the hotel.
The ten of us were then taken to our hotels by the guide, 6 to 1 hotel and 4 of us at our hotel.
Here we are as we head out exploring after our lunch. The fog is slowly burning off.
Taksim is a main transportation hub and a popular destination for both tourists and the native population of Istanbul. and a nostalgic tram runs from the square along the avenue, ending near the Tünel (1875) which is the world's second-oldest subway line after London's Underground (1863). Surrounding Taksim Square are numerous travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and international fast food chains such as Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Burger King
The square has been an important venue for political protests during much of its existence. Groups from all sides of the political spectrum in Turkey try to demonstrate in this square in order to use its visibility for the benefit of their cause. Following many violent incidents, all forms of group protests were banned in the square and the police units maintain a round-the-clock presence to prevent any incidents. The ban doesn't apply to surrounding avenues or streets.
Just before our trip on October 31 2010, a suicide bomb went off next to a police bus. The bomber died, while 15 police officers and 17 civilians were injured.
We came upon a group of protesters and having observed the police presence around us decided it would be better to move on.
İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), a long pedestrian shopping street, ends at Taksim Square. We've never seen so many people out shopping as there were along here. Every store you could think of from around the world has a location here. Cafes are in every nook and cranny. And the food in the windows!!
More photos along this street.