The demanding journey to Istanbul was well worth the effort. We spent five days in this fascinating metropolis on the Bosporus. On foot, by metro, streetcar, bus, ship and gondola we explored the city.

Although many sights are closed for renovation (Blue Mosque, Cisterna Basilica, Chora Church, Virgin Island and Dolmabahçe Palace), we never got bored. We visited Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sofia, Suleymaniye Mosque and different areas of the city in Asia and Europe. We loved to just sit by the harbor, in parks or cafes and enjoy the lively, bustling atmosphere on land and on the water.

For the wonderful city atmosphere alone, and for the cute cats, the visit was worth it. Many stray cats have a good life in Istanbul: they are fed, petted and draw attention as eye catchers in stores.

Thanks to a suggestion from our guidebook, we found out that the Istanbul Jazz Festival was taking place during our stay. Because sooo much is always going on everywhere, we probably would never have heard about the festival without that hint. We attended two great concerts and thus filled our memory of big city impressions.

These impressions will be in great contrast to the rural regions of Anatolia, which we will travel in the next few months.