What is the most interesting experience you have had in Istanbul?
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of course there were so many unique experiences in istanbul that i cannot or do not want to figure out which one could have been the most interesting one, but there was one day which i consider to the most important one, i mean, nothing special happened outside, it was just about travelling through the city, it started in the morning by going by bus from taksim to çengelköy, it was in august, i already had spent two months in istanbul, living in galata, having seen most of those places and buildings you have to see, i already had nights without sleep, found an incomparable magic mood round amazing eyüp, visited new galeries and beautiful university areas and so on, well, no clouds at that day, sweat in the bus, from my neighbours, from me, crossing the second bosphorus bridge, changing the bus (which meant crossing a highway by very fast running feet), waiting for the next bus having a hill view on some istanbul outskirts… çengelköy: there is one very old tree, a plane tree, eighty years old (like this), a limb that’s as long as its age, i took a seat under this limb, drinking some tea out of a small tulip glasses (what else), watching the water, i do not know how long i was sitting there, a lot of people came and went, probably, i even do not remember what i was thinking about, i found myself again walking, a hot sun burning, cars, dust and dirt, i passed historical buildings, rich men’s houses, huge and small wooden houses, i walked till my legs got tired and i took a next bus to üsküdar… in üsküdar i went to this very nice park i knew before, i watched the anglers doing their job, i watched the european side just being the european side, i smoked and waited till the sun started to go down, the perfect moment for taking a ferryboat… a ferryboat to eminönü… do you remember when it was the first time you closed your eyes while going by boat on the bosphorus? it was the first time for me, the first time that i didn’t want to see everything around… when i left the boat istanbul had changed (to me), it was like a second arrival, or like my real arrival, beyond any excitment, like a gift (by the city itself), i learnt to stay calm in a city that is never calm, i learnt that is possible to have a rest inside me, when almost everything is (fast) moving outside… i walked over galata bridge, walked back to tatar beyi sokağı… (also emotionally knowing from now on istanbul will never leave me)…
This is beautiful Achim…
Istanbul , anyway, just the name is magic !! it can make you dream just to hear the name of Istanbul …
and every single part of the town is so surprizing, so attractive…
such a lot of mosques, lot of palaces, all big prestigious hotels or buildings very modern, the streets full of young people looking for fashion clothes, lot of tourists from all over the world , the parks too it’s so cosmopolitan everywhere ! and the travelling salesmen among them…It’s fascinating everywhere you look !
It is like if there were differents towns in a same town..with bosphorus, you can go to the other side and to go back…
Istanbul is the magic style of mixing old time past and the modernism of the 21 th century …
My most interesting experience in Istanbul was probably the exhibit I organized at Dolmabahçe Palace in 2005. After I had successfully translated the English version of the Dolmabahçe Palace Guidebook, the Director of the National Palaces, Mr. Cemal Öztaş asked me if I would be willing to put together a Turkish aviation history exhibit in the Medhal Hall, which is the entrance to the Muayede Hall, where they used to hold the Bayram receptions. The Medhal measures about 400 m2, with all the oppulence one could ever imagine. Under normal conditions, it is rented out to corporations for about $100,000 per night, but they didn’t charge me anything to organize this exhibit. I had a colleague of mine, a 74-year old Scotsman, Bill Robertson, an aerophilatelist who owns a major collection of Turkish airmail ephemera, to ship me 160 of his finest pieces of airmail. I got the PTT to donate the use of vertical display stands and lined up his collection on the left side of the hall. I’ve been a member of the ‘Collection Club,’ a group of writers, researchers and, of course, collectors, since 2002 and I invited members such as Doğan Güral, who has the country’s most important Tayyare and Milli Piyango ticket collection, as well as Turgay Tuna, who pitched in with his aviation stamp collection. I had a friend of mine, Hakan Demirbağ contribute with 1:18 scale models of aircraft built by Vecihi Hürkuş, who was Turkey’s most notable aviator. From the Cinema & TV Faculty of Mimar Sinan University, I obtained a 6-minute long DVD containing previously unseen footage taken back in the 1930’s, with Atatürk, Sabiha Gökçen and the Shah of Iran. The palace underwrote the expenses for a 12-page brochure, posters and invitations, as well as the opening cocktail party. TAV was our corporate sponsor, but oddly enough, nobody from their organization was on hand at the opening. Amongst the guests of honor was Atatürk’s adopted daughter, Mrs. Ülkü Adatepe, as well as 96-year old Kemal Ceylanoğlu, who was employed as a technician at the Kayseri Aircraft Factory back in the 1930’s. We lost Kemal about two months ago at the age of 101.
The exhibit ran for about a month from late-November to the third week of December, and to have my son Jonathon experience this as well was worth all the trouble I went through.
Jonathon is but a lucky guy… Thanks for sharing Stu…
Hope to open another exhibit at Yunus Emre Kültür Merkezi in Ataköy in early-November.
Ah… food… as usual…
I have certain fixation with food, to the level of bein target of my friends jokes, but it’s true that I always get stuck on every country food and cuisine, and, on this matters, Istambul is no exception.
Beggining by the typical breakfast, with that wonderful olives (I love olives, and the turkish black ones are strong and wonderful), cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, jam… without forgetting the black and strong turkish coffee, a relieve for me due to the great difficult to get a nice coffee when travelling and I get that brown water that some people dare even to think that is in some way related to coffee…
Then, try the real thing on lamb, by itself or in a döner, or maybe some of that tasty meatballs called köfte that I love.
Yoghourt, pilav (rice) and ayran (a kind of salad yoghourt drink) are common side plates on any meal, and Çorba (the turkish soup) is almost essential if you are eating turkish.
If you have vegetables in your plate, almost always you’ll have eggplants on it. Eggplants are the base for many, many dishes on Turkey, as the world famous moussaka, with it’s origins on the Ottomann empire…
Without forgetting the fish, I’ve been delighted by anchovies and sardines, eaten there in dozens of different ways…
And finally, I’m not a great sweet consumer, but on Turkey you can get them by the ton. Pastries, baklava, turkish delights, marzipan…
And, of course, be aware of the Rakı when drinking, and dont forget to get a çai (tea) any time you can get to sit down, relax, and watch the wonderful city of Istanbul…
Istanbul, the most unique place I’ve ever seen. I haven’t visited many countries, but I’ve searched a lot in the internet, and I’ve met many people who visit many countries and the answer is usually the same: ” Istanbul is the best”.
I can say that Istanbul has unique blind of modern and heritage, history when blinds with new lifestyle. A blind of Europe and Asia with an ottoman flavor.
A blind of luxury and simplicity, you can find five stars restaurants and nearby you can find Kurdish restaurants with belows on the floor to sit and eat.
Doner is another secret of Istanbul, a magician has cooked this kind of food not a cook.
But the most interesting experience I’ve had is visiting Uludag in Bursa and having all this fun skiing on the snow, eating grilled steak on 2500 meters above sea level.
Taking a taxi to get to the peek in a prestigious gorgeous trip. Oh I felt that I was dreaming.
The view from the window of the taxi is always great. I thought that every view is the best, but the next is better or at least the same.
It was a great day.
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