Moving from a town like Boulder to a city like Istanbul is probably one of the biggest shifts that I could possibly have gone for. Boulder is relatively small (~120,000 people including students) and the city is very much meant to be experienced outdoors. There are parks everywhere, tons of green, not to mention the mountains butting up to us. The wide open spaces of home are a luxury, and of course, you never what you have until it is gone.
Istanbul, in contrast, is a city of nearly 15 million (about 3x the size of the state of Colorado) that has exploded in the last 50 years into the worlds 2nd largest city. Partially due to this nuclear growth rate, and partially due to short-sighted city planning, the roads have become congested to the gills. Traffic in Istanbul is awful, and it is often faster to walk than it is to drive, ever over great distances.
And while Istanbul does have some very nice parks, they are relatively few, and not necessarily easy to get to, so for an active person like myself, I have had to find new creative ways of getting out. Lately I have discovered a very nice path that runs right along the Bosphorus Strait into the northern part of the city. However, getting down to the path can be tricky. I generally have to battle cars and jockey for position on the road, because much of the sidewalk looks like they were dismembered brick by brick. I try and make a game of it though. It's like real life Frogger, with real life 18-wheelers.
Despite battling the traffic, the view makes it all worth it.
But, if I time it right, I can avoid the traffic and the run really is quite nice. The local fisherman along the path are beginning to recognize me, and sometimes I will get a few stray dogs that run along side me.
Some of the local fisherman who will occasionally nod at me. It makes me feel like a local.
One of my canine jogging companions. This guy made it almost 10km with me.
I have also created my own route through the old city. On the weekends it is overcrowded with tourists, but if I go towards the end of the day I can make the jog easily, and pass by some serious historical landmarks along the way. In about an hour I can pass the Spice Bazaar, the Sultanahmet Mosque, the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, and if I'm still feeling good enough I can make it into the gardens at Topkapi Palace. This is a longer run, and I actually have to catch a bus into the old city (I know that's super lame, trust me, I had to get past with some serious personal qualms to convince myself that it was OK to catch a bus to go on a jog).
This is the Sultanahmet Mosque. It is pretty nice backdrop for a jog.
At any rate, I'm still getting accustomed to life in a new place, without all of the wonderful outdoors that Boulder has to offer, but I think I'm fairing well.