"[Turkey has] such a distinct and rich history that it's making us travel in such a diff[erent] way."
It's so true. The type of research I've been doing for this trip is way different from what's usual for me. Of course I still looked up what the weather would be like and how to get from the airport to the city center but I've also been looking up what fashion is appropriate, proper behavior in mosques, and how to react to the call to prayer (which happens six times a day). And I've been reading up on the history of the city. All I knew about Istanbul when all of this started was that it was the bridge between the continents of Asia and Europe and it used to be called Constantinople. The (free) Triposo Istanbul Guide app that I got has been quite the educational read.
- dressing too sexy in Istanbul will give people the impression that you are a prostitute (apparently men are so ballsy - and horny, I guess - that they'll just approach you and grab you)
- avoid visiting mosques at prayer time (give or take half an hour after the ezan a.k.a. call to prayer)
- no shoes in mosques or homes
- don't drink tap water
And on a more fun note: take a look at a few common hand signals that mean something completely different in other countries.