Istanbul is full of surprises

To be honest, I am wildly naïve and ignorant about this part of the world. The closest thing I have experienced to a Muslim country is our short and slightly cushy trip to Morocco a few years back. It was a culture shock then, and I was bracing myself for it here. I was waiting for the city to overwhelm me, to overtake the senses and make me want to crawl into a ball with my eyes closed and my hands over my ears. Like I said, I was ignorant. With my mind full of media stories and warnings from friends,...