Istanbul has changed since I went last time, in 2008. I think Turkey has been hard hit by the political events in its south-west. Istiklal Caddesi, which Daesh bombed earlier this year, wasn't quite the street of high-end fashion designers and upmarket consumerism that I remembered; and I read today that Islamist extremists have forced the cancellation of the Gay Pride march which was due to take place there next week. Also everything was cheaper than I remembered. I spent a total of £250 over four full days and two half days in the city, eating out at least once a day and often twice, buying books and other souvenirs in museum gift shops, and taking taxis to the more out-of-the-way sights. And my hotel was way nicer than I was expecting for what I'd paid -- it's the first hotel I've ever stayed at which had a boutique feel, like someone had deliberately designed it to be in magazines, and it's the first where I've ever ordered room service (£2.50 for a freshly-made cheese and tomato sandwich).
|The Empress Theodora's throne sat here|