We ended our European adventure with a dip into Asia. I actually didn't know that about Istanbul before planning our trip; that the city is half in Europe and half in Asia. It adds a unique quality to the culture. We also couchsurfed here with a great guy who lives on the Asian side. While a lot of the sightseeing is in the Ancient Quarter on the European side, there's still plenty to do and see on the Asian side making it was a good balance.
What we loved most about the city though was simply it's sprawling hills decorated with colorful housing. The views were gorgeous from all of the many high points. Istanbul is spread-out too. So while it can take some time to get around on public transit – which has many options like ferries, metrobuses, subways, trams, regular buses- the scenery outside can pass the time for a newcomer. It's a place we could definitely see ourselves living. The mix of culture, history, and modernization makes it a desirable location for anyone.