After being in Western Europe from the middle of July to the beginning of October, we were looking forward to heading east. We were also concerned that we’d weren’t going to be in the mood for the chaos of Istanbul having been in a lot of cities lately. When we arrived it was nighttime and we had to take a taxi to the only address we had been given for our Airbnb apartment. After a longer ride than we expected, we ended up in an area where hundreds of stray cats scattered from the piles of garbage they were eating as you walked down the street. Our host met us and was unbelievable friendly and helpful. Showing us our apartment he said, “It’s small, but clean” and laughed to himself. It was exactly that, which is all we could have hoped for at $35/night. As usual, waking up the next day put all our concerns to rest. Although our area was a little rough around the edges, the people were friendly and we were just minutes from the overcrowded tourist attractions. Sarah’s parents were going to be visiting in a couple days and we needed to figure out where to take them and where not to. The day before Sarah’s parents got there, we moved in to the Airbnb apartment that we’d be staying in with them. It was HUGE. A 3-bedroom duplex apartment with a bridge, flat screens, and it was located in the hippest part of the city. We took them to the Grand Bazaar and spent too much money, saw the Spice Bazaar and the poor animals for sale outside, and went to many incredible dinners. I don’t think any of us thought we’d ever be exploring Istanbul together so it was really exciting just to be there. It is certainly a crowded place though…almost twice the population of New York City! At the end of 3 days, we were all ready to move on but happy that we had experienced this place together.