My best memory of Istanbul was not visiting the major attractions like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, but an all-day walk from the hills of Taksim down to the Golden Horn and the base of the Galta Bridge. In no particular order, here are some of my impressions.
Buying popcorn from someone who made it with a homemade basket over a coal fire. The popcorn kept catching fire as he cooked it, but it tasted good nonetheless.
Having a very unusual, gummy-tasting, chocolate ice cream, cone. The server used a long, awkward metal paddle to serve it.
Climbing the stairs of the Galata tower and getting an amazing view of a totally foreign land dotted with mosques and minarets.
Seeing thousands of pigeons outside a mosque and an ancient blind woman selling pigeon feed.
Walking across the base of the Galata bridge and being repeatedly accosted by restaurant owners who wanted us to eat fried fish sandwiches, presumably caught by the fishermen whose lines dangled above us.
Turning a corner and feeling like we were in Europe and then turning another corner and encountering shabby but still majestic mansions.
The wonderful mix of old and new, of cobblestones and satellite dishes and street vendors and boutiques.
Encountering hundreds of people in line to communally break their Ramadan fasts.