Istanbul. When it comes to European cities she’s the ultimate seductress; like a film noir heroine she will have you enraptured with her delicious scent, and breathtaking beauty as she snares your imagination forever with her mystery and intrigue.
And watch out for the Boehme ‘Roman’ vagabonds who will enthrall with tribal drum beats and hypnotic strings – you’ll smile when you throw them a lira or two and weep when you can’t find your wallet minutes later.
Well what’s a bona-fide city, without that magic ingredient of a sprinkling of danger here and there? Not sure you want to head down that dark alleyway? Hell your on holiday, what’s the worst that can happen? Go for it, close your eyes for a moment if you dare…let your nostrils lead the way with the tangent aroma of fresh delicacies and fragrant Apple smoked water pipes. Fill your ears with the original soundtrack of Istanbul. Tune into Foreign voices, see if you can figure out where they’re from in this international soundscape. Accents fight for airtime some loud and brash some muffled whispers on dark street corners only momentarily interrupted by the screech of a ferral cat or the sound of glass shattering on a cobbled pavement. Enjoy the shiver which ripples across your spine when you hear the first haunting crys of the Call to Prayer echo from Mosque to Mosque a beautiful domino effect that ensures the message ricochets from ancient pillar to graffited post. Keep moving, something within you demands that you seek out that tinkle of Turkish folk music who knows if you follow it, where you’ll end up , or who you will meet. So my advice to you dearest intrepid traveller is to explore the back streets, sniff out every nook and wretched cranny for this is where Istanbul really comes into its own. The district of Beyoglu is a firm favourite of mine, the SOHO of Istanbul; quirky, young, and full to the brim with hip coffee houses, vintage fashion delights and trendy urbanites.
It’s almost ridiculous to even write about this Seductress of a city, you’ve got to just jump on a plane and let her really sink her claws into you!
You can read all you want, research your trip via Time Out, arm yourself with a well-thumbed Lonely Planet guide but like I said it’s best just to let the atmosphere soak you to the bone! Throw yourself in at the deep end, get lost in the bustling and boisterous crowds of Istiklal Caddesi (Independence Street) At night crawl from Bar to Pub, Taverna to local Tea shop and let your senses get hammered by a City which is simply drenched in a smorgasboard of cultural delights. Don’t stop and stare too long at the latest protest in Taksim Square, let the Peoples passion for whichever cause or travesty they are vocalising be second to the awe-inspiring and slightly menacing looking Turkish Police Force. Who stand firm like a human wall, machine guns slung over broad shoulders chomping on the bit for a slice of action.
Istikal Caddesi – Musicians
Emirgan Park – Istanbul
Never far from a Mosque – Istanbul
Like a bit of Fresh Fish? head to Galata Bridge
I know the Fish is nice mate, but no need to litrally stuff your face!
– She Wolf Woz here –
‘Exuse me, do you know any shops that I can buy some lights from?’
‘Urr yeah, your in luck mate, your standing outside one’
Check out the utterly stunning photographs from Fatih Pinar, to get the real scoop on Istanbul
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