Merhaba from Istanbul 5/12/11

We arrived in Istanbul last night after a non-stop 14 hr. flight from LAX.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Istanbul now has a train line (Metro) from the airport across the European side of the city.  We took the Metro to the Sultanahmet stop and walked to our hotel.  Today we worked on the details of our trip such as reserving a car in Bursa, arranging the ferry trip across the Sea of Marmara, and finding an ATM.  Istanbul has undergone considerable change.  A positive note is that beyond the souvenir booksellers along the Hippodrome the high-pressure pursuing by rug and trinket sellers has diminished.  A less positive note is that there are fewer private houses in the area as buildings are converted to hotels and restaurants.