Arriving to a new city (and country and culture) certainly leaves you with some first impressions of the place.  Here are some things I found interesting about our arrival to Istanbul.

1. The topography.  Wow-it’s hilly here!  I had no idea that Istanbul had so many steep hills.  The nice thing about the hills is that you get gorgeous views of the Bosphorus from all over the city.  It also keeps you in shape.  Unfortunately, the sidewalks aren’t always the best and sometimes cars are parked on them forcing you to go into the road (with cars that like to speed down then narrow roads).

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2.  The weather.  The weather is gorgeous.  Being here for over several weeks now, there has been only one rainy day and one little shower another day.  Other than that, it’s been sunny and blue skies with lovely temperatures in the 80s.  There usually is a nice breeze too throughout the day.

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3.  The restaurants.  Because of this lovely weather, you can always eat outside!  It’s not too hot and not too cold.  It seems that every restaurant has outdoor eating of some kind with these nice, huge umbrellas to provide shade.  It’ll be interesting to see how they enclose them in for the winter time.

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4.  The food.  You can find pretty much anything to eat here!  In China, our options were more limited.  Here, restaurants have a variety of options from traditional local fare to Italian to hamburgers.  More on food in another blog post!

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5. The people.  Even though we arrived in the middle of summer, I find that it really it not overwhelmingly crowded.  We have visited some of the tourist sights and while crowded, I’ve seen worse.

6.  Clothes.  You find a wide range of styles here; however, I have noticed that most people don’t wear shorts.  Women tend to wear dresses/skirts/pants.  You certainly can wear shorts but it’s not the norm.

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7. The transportation.  It’s very easy to get around the city.  Walking is a great option.  Taxis are plentiful (although like in other major cities, I prefer taking a taxi to the tourist sight and then taking the subway back since they like to try and rip you off in those touristy areas).  The subway is great–clean and quick, although signage could be just a smidge clearer but it’s easy enough to determine the correct train to take.

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8. Supplies.  You can seriously find what you need here.  Maybe not always the exact brand you want, but pretty close.  I think that helps to make this move easier because they have what you want here.  (Although I’m still getting used to figuring out which place has the best meat I want to buy for meals)

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Overall, Istanbul is a great city and I know we’re going to love getting to know it even more.  There are so many awesome little areas to check out within the city.  We also look forward to exploring all this country has to offer.