Istanbul is huge. Compare the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area population of about 3,300,000 to Istanbul’s population of well over 13,000,000, and you can easily see how overwhelming of a place it is. I mean, the city spans two (COUNT ‘EM – TWO) continents and never seems to end. Riding the metro from the airport through all the neighborhoods made me feel like I was traveling through several cities. I stayed in the Beyoğlu municipality, near Taksim Square, this time – it was a much different feel than Sultanahmet, the neighborhood where I stayed in July and August. Taksim is a major hub for art and culture and youth and creativity in Istanbul, and it felt more vibrant and changing than touring around Sultanahmet.
My hostel was nestled at the bottom of a steep side street, just a few blocks from a major construction site. It was nice to walk around İstiklal Caddesi (Independence Avenue), where no vehicles go (except garbage trucks, police cars, and the occasional trolley). The best burgers ever are sold near Taksim Square, so I made sure to grab one (and only one, but it was tempting to get more) while I walked around aimlessly looking in music and jewelry stores. Here are a few of the pictures I took of my walking adventures through Taksim.