Istanbul…

… is like the refresher towel I was given when I ordered a coffee in the Grand Bazaar – cleaned up.

As you travel you love to see the culture in the markets and often it is twisting crowded streets and squawking hawkers. At least that is how I remember Istanbul 40 years ago.

Today the bazaar is clean, ordered, patrolled and well lit. Electronic signs point to WCs. The shop sellers stand back and let you view, TV screens advertise the more upmarket food and craft stalls and public announcements make it feel a little like Myers.

Would I really swap the dirt and grime and hustling for a clean, bland market?

To me it is a sign that Turkey very much values the tourist dollar and has aspirations to be seen Western/European rather than Eastern.

I don’t think that is a bad thing.

As we spent more days here we realised that road traffic is light and so is the smog after many sunny Spring days. The public transport system is efficient and well used.

We will learn what the country is like in the next three weeks as we embark on some touring.

street cleaner on Yeniceriler Street, Istanbul

street cleaner on Yeniceriler Street, Istanbul

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