This is my first night in Istanbul since May 2012. Like the previous time – which was my first visit to Turkey, I took a few days off to explore the city after completing a work project. This time, my project was cancelled at the last minute due to the situation in the country. While a lot of work and preparation had gone into this project in Bursa, Turkey, I’m just going with the flow and making the best of it. After a two-hour ferry ride from Bursa to Istanbul, I finally settled into the rental loft apartment in Beyoğlu that is just 10 minutes from Taksim Square where it all started.

Here are some moments from May 2012:

Cats in the sunIstanbul - Cats in the sunSnails in the midnight rainSnails on a rainy nightThick Turkish coffee at Pandeli cafe in the Egyptian / Spice BazaarEgyptian : Spice market07 - PandeliLFThe amazing view from the room that I rented on Airbnb.com with the Galata Tower taking centrestage while seagulls soared above making a lot of noise. Yet, the first time when I looked out of the window, breathed in the sea breeze and listened to the seagulls cry, this was the most peaceful moment I had had in weeks (following back-to-back hotel openings and events in one month). It was so nice, almost like a dream!Galata-Tower01-4Galata Tower was about 10-15 minutes on foot from the place that I was staying at and it was interesting to see the locals fishing on the Galata Bridge over the Bosphorus River. I wonder though about the quality of the catch and whether anyone eats them.Galata bridge07P160NCGalata bridge02P160NCSüleymaniye Mosque, the largest of some 3000 mosques in Istanbul, which is home to the greatest number of mosques in Turkey.Süleymaniye Mosque07LFcI’m not a big fan of shopping but it was interesting to see a little bit of the sprawling Grand Bazaar which is so huge that there are street names within to guide those who are lost in this labyrinth of stalls selling gold, silver, carpets, antiques, hamam accessories, etc. You can learn more about the Grand Bazaar here, colour-coded map included!Grand bazaar01K64

Open-air street-side shopping where there are less touts but you get more sun.Streets06P160NC

If you get tired of shopping or walking, meet with friends and sit on the street to chat / gossip while sipping some Turkish tea / coffee or smoking cigarettes.Streets01LFStreets03-4LFI like this image, plus it’s rare to see a row of coin telephone booths nowadays in the cities that I live in and frequent.Streets05P160NC

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13 replies on “Remembering Istanbul

  1. So that is the Grand Bazaar. I got so tired of crowds in Istanbul, I only went to the bazaar with great reluctance, and then was so relieved to find it was closed for the day! I never did go back.

    1. On the other hand, on the last couple of days before we left, I explored the antique shops of Cihangir and that felt just as satisfying and way less crowded. I came away with some midcentury fashion plates from one of the arts universities, and an experience of bargaining that I am still proud of. 🙂

        1. I’m normally terrified of bargaining, which is why I did so little shopping in Istanbul (sigh), but somehow I was willing to take the plunge — and hold firm — with the fashion plates. They’re beautifully rendered fashion sketches. Here’s one!

    2. Well, this is only 1 photo of the immense Grand Bazaar, which is indeed a labyrinth! It was interesting to walk through a small part of it and I don’t think I’ll return unless I’m bringing someone to see it. haha. Plus, there’s lots more to see in Istanbul (with less touts and crowds).

  2. The way that you have captured and described Istanbul is so accurate, I went there a few weeks ago and it was snowing 😀 what a wonderful experience. I am so pleased to have read your post and I shall write mine very soon 🙂
    Loving your work as usual! The most interesting blog on the net 🙂

    1. I saw photos of Istanbul in snow when a friend was recently there. Look forward to seeing your soon! Am headed to Istanbul for work next month, so am looking forward to creating new impressions of the city on film 🙂

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