It hit me a few weeks after moving to Istanbul two years ago.
The city is split from north to south by the aquamarine waters of the Bosphorus; a hectic channel linking the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and acting as a historic boundary between Europe and Asia.
Turkey has 80 million inhabitants, and 15 million of those crowd into Istanbul, which deserves the adjective ‘bustling’ more than any other metropolis I’ve visited.
Istanbul, Constantinople, Byzantium; whatever you call it, this city is unique.
It’s the only one on Earth to straddle two continents, and a medieval ambassador to the sultan’s court remarked that Istanbul “seemed designed by nature to be the capital of the world”.
The rest of the time it’s free entry but, to see its fabulous interior, take off your shoes, dress modestly and be prepared to don a voluminous light-blue skirt – men too – if your skinny legged jeans are considered too sexy.
It’s thought Emperor Constantine built a Christian basilica here in 325 on the site of a pagan temple.Now, two years and many friends later, I keep reading posts on expat forums from people complaining about feeling isolated.For many it seems like starting their life from scratch at an older age and building a social circle from zero. Making friends will take time, effort and patience, but provided that you stay open-minded it may lead you to make some fascinating connections.But in Turkey these gestures are considered sweet, and simply a sign of devotion.Of course, it’s the man that does all the running around.Researchers found that the older you get, the fewer friends you have.