The stuff that really made Istanbul great for me was the stuff I didn't know about until I got there.  And that's on top of everything I knew that made me really really want to go there.   But the bal kaymak, the ferries, the fresh fruits, the tiny winding streets.  Those are the things that I'm still thinking about months later. 

So much so, that I'm already seeing how long a layover I might be able to get there in the future, and frantically calculating how to make the timing of a purely hypothetical layover on a hypothetical trip work so I can plot my return to Karakoy Özsüt.  It sounds ridiculous.  But bal kaymak is ridiculous.  It's both the lightest textured and most luxuriously dense creamy buffalo milk cream - topped with local honey with bits of comb.  There is, as Dan described, the faintest and best taste of lucky-charms-marshmallow.  

Aside from not eating enough of this (and we did eat it 3 days straight), there wasn’t enough ferry riding.  It was so satisfying to be able to have boats arriving every couple of minutes ready to cross the Bosphorus or the golden horn, complete with tea for purchase.  I’m sure it’s not as charming if it’s part of your commute to work, but maybe it still is? 

Random thoughts:

- If one more person tells me Turkish is phonetic and therefore easy…

- A fun game to play is “seagull or cat” – I couldn’t tell what was making the squawks!

- I kept a loose mental ratio of belly button : hijab and by FAR belly buttons won