Istanbul has no secrets, this city has nothing to hide, and it doesn’t intend to, the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad, the rich and the poor, luxury and simplicity… I could see it all, and still I couldn’t help but to fall in love with this authentic and magical place.
Watching Istanbul waking up from the Galata Tower was priceless, unique. It was like watching a lion slowly waking up, stretching, then suddenly the roaring as to say, “good morning, I’m alive”. And isn’t this city alive? The ship horns at the Bosphorus, the sound of the Mosques calling for prayer, cars stuck in traffic, the markets and its vendors, and its 14 million smiley, grumpy, helpful, persistent, convincing sometimes, noisy, talkative, loud, and excited people.
There is no better way to discover and to understand Istanbul than by foot. Walking its streets, feeling the smell of spices in the air, going up and down its hills, negotiating with vendors at the Grand and Spice Bazaars, crossing the Galata Bridge, getting lost in the narrow streets of Beyoglu District, to feel all the excitement of the busy Istiklal Avenue, watching the old Trams of Taksim Square passing by, exploring the streets of Sultanahmet and finishing the day deciding among seemingly endless options of restaurants and bars to eat and drink.
In almost every corner, a stray cat or a dog. At the Galata Bridge, fishermen. At the hotel, not a manager, but a new friend. At the restaurants, no grumpy face or bad service, but smiles and pleasure to serve. Crazy language – and me thinking that German is bad. Black tea, or any tea, how many times a day you want, its a must. Turkish delights, how sweet do you want? Kebap? You will find it everywhere. Traffic jam? Too.
Istanbul, Asia and Europe in the same place, uniting people from all over the World, all to discover and experience this unique and authentic place. Living there, I could not… visiting, as many times and as many days as possible. Do I recommend? Without hesitation, it is a must in everyone’s bucketlist. The food? Delightful: different and exotic. The view? From the Galata Tower. An area to stay? Cihangir. How to say thank you? Teşekkür. Yeah, “good luck with that” I was told.
Impressive, exciting, surprisingly different, authentic, unique, noisy, simple and yet complex. Wow, what is it with you Istanbul? What is it with you that makes me want to stay longer, that makes me want to return and get to know you better, that makes me miss you? Ohh Istanbul, until we meet again…