On cruise day 3 we arrived in Istanbul where the ship was docked overnight. Istanbul, which also has a fascinating history, is a divided city in that part of it lies in Europe, while part is in Asia Minor, separated by the Bosphorus. Istanbul is the largest city in Europe, and as our guide told us, among the world’s most populated city within city limits with an estimated 11 million people. Moreover the actual population is probably even larger than that recorded by census, as many residents return to their home towns for census day and are not counted as residents in Istanbul.
Istanbul was founded by a Greek colonist, Byzas, around 660 BC, and known as Byzantium for nine centuries. Later in 330 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine renamed the city Constantinople. Over the next 16 centuries till modern times it was the capital of four major Empires. These were the Roman Empire (330-395), the Byzantine Empire (395-1204 and 1261-1453), the Latin Empire (1204-1261) and the Ottoman Empire (1453 to 1922). Today though, Ankara and not Istanbul, is the capital of The Republic of Turkey.
When circumstances result in reservations through different airlines, airport connections can be tricky with connection times either very tight, so you sit wondering how long it will take to retrieve your luggage and get it to the next check-in, or else layovers too long to be comfortable but not long enough to leave the airport and go do something fun. Travelling from Vancouver to LAX to connect with a 7:15 pm international flight on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and onto Athens, I looked in vain for a direct YVR-LAX flight to get me into LAX with at least 3 hours before the TA flight, but my options were limited. So in the end I took an early morning flight and planned to sit patiently in LAX and get writing done.