More west than east. (April 2012)

It’s been 40 years since I first visited Istanbul. I remember it being very mysterious and very ‘Eastern’

A lot has changed and it’s now a modern city.

The taxis have meters, built into the rear view mirrors, while silent articulated trams efficiently move commuters through the clean well maintained streets.

The pudding shop is a restaurant. It still serves the hippies from the seventies but, like me, they have shorter hair, cleaner clothes and are now in their sixties.

Istanbul seems to have become more western, yet minarets dominate the skyline and the muezzin is still heard calling the Muslims to prayer, albeit over a high decibel PA system.

I did find a little bit of the eastern influence and surprisingly it was in a restaurant.

Turkey is a secular society, so wine is acceptable and readily available. We ordered a bottle of the local Sauvignon Blanc and were surprised to find we could haggle with the waiter over the price.

At last I have found the eastern influence in Istanbul.


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