Istanbul is a vibrant and dynamic urban conurbation of 17 million people. It straddles the Bosphorous, a shipping passage from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea and which separates Europe from Asia. The best way to see Istanbul is on foot and we walk many miles soaking up the atmosphere of its bazaars and markets, back streets and boulevards, mosques and palaces. The Sultanahmet area with its Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and Hagia Sofia Museum is renowned for its beauty and is just a short walk away from the famous Grand Bazaar and Spice Markets. We have long since learned to avoid paying silly tourist prices in these areas however and can find excellent value food and drink in places that the locals frequent.
The Sultan Ahmed Mosque is commonly referred to as "Blue" due to the extensive blue tile work of the interior.
Another interesting City bird is the little Laughing Dove, so called because of its chuckling call. Smaller than other dove species it quite a colourful and elegant variety. Western Turkey, particularly Istanbul, is the only European stronghold of this classic desert oases species.