Let’s say my idea of Istanbul was rather a simple one. You know, a bustling old town with grand mosques and a few grander minarets thrown in to please visitors in search of the exotic.
The bustling part was correct, but there’s more to good ol’ Istanbul than meets the eye.
I was staying only two subway stops from Taksim, whose status of the “classical” city center accorded by visitors is vehemently disputed by locals.
“No, no! Istanbul has many centers, we can’t have just one, there are 15 million of us,” said Kaya, a 23-year-old student who likes to converse in English with travelers.
“One or two hours on the road to travel is normal for us,” added the Istanbulite.
In Istanbul, traffic congestion is as common as kebab shops. But if the idea of huddling together with the crowd or dodging car-honking locals doesn’t rock your boat,...