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Istanbul layover

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We have 8 hours or so changing planes in IST en route from Houston to Osaka ( I know, I know, long story). This will be in the afternoon/evening of Christmas Day. I am assuming everywhere will be open and the place will be buzzing. We are intending to go into town on the metro. I have done it before and reckon it takes less than one hour. Allowing for getting through immigration ( I have an electronic visa, he doesn't need one) and if the plane is on time, would you say there is enough time to get to Istiklal Caddesi/Galata Bridge and back? Dinner, mooching around etc. How long would it take by taxi? As I recall, the traffic can be pretty bad.
Thanks all.

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