Just two bridges span the strait linking Europe to Asia, forming two of the most hectic bottlenecks in the world. More than 116 million cars travel across the bridges every year on just 14 lanes.
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Driving in Istanbul is somewhat challenging and a little stressful unless you adopt the same approach as the locals. Technically the road ‘rules’ are not too dissimilar to any other European country; the only difference in Istanbul is that no one follows the rules… or any other kind of road etiquette! The Turkish approach is every man for himself (women are rarely seen behind the wheel).
If all that wasn’t enough - It’s not only the drivers you have to worry about, pedestrians also think they have the right to step out into the road at anytime, normally without looking!
Just to put all this information into context it took us 4 hours to drive just 16km across the city. For the remainder of our 6-day visit we decided to park up Bee-bee and use public transport.
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Istanbul’s Metro (underground train network) took us closer to the centre; a modern, organised and efficient system. Arriving at the watery obstacle of the Bosphorus we tried several public forms of passage; the first was a nippy sea bus, darting straight across the strait amongst the busy sea lanes. Ferry boats chug more serenely across, passengers throw bread to flocks of gulls hovering at the stern and you can relax on deck taking in the impressive cityscape. For speed and an avoidance of the waves you can take the shiny new ‘Marmaray’; sleek trains whizzing through an undersea rail tunnel.
While we mainly explored the city by foot, the variety of fascinating ways of getting around in Istanbul, with a wonderful mix of passengers, only added to our new-found love of the city.