Bir günde Istanbul
The gateway from Europe to Asia or the other way around. Many battles have been fought here, many cultures have lived here, many trade has been done here. From the Ottoman to the Greeks and from the Persians to the Turks and now to me. Istanbul, I’m back!
Walking through the many little streets full with shops, people, trade and cats in Istanbul can fill a day. We have just arrived at Kadiköy and are now finding our way through the maze of streets. Though life has adapted to modern day I still feel the old days being present. The men are standing in front of their shop, calling people in. Fruits, fish, spices, clothes. All is sold here in a rather chaotic way.
I feel totally save in this maze though yesterday a bombing in Ankara cost many innocent lives. Here in Kadiköy it’s almost like nothing happened. However, when I see people protesting against a governmental organization I walk a little bit faster. Nonetheless it happens these days that a small group of young people walk through the streets while clapping their hands and holding photos of the people who died. Everyone else in the street lays down their work, don’t eat nor drink but claps along. A moment for the death. Not in silence but in sound.
As I have lived for around two years in Turkey I’m the one choosing what we have to eat, to do, to see etc. There is no better way than starting the day with one of the most delicious breakfasts on earth: Menemen. So we sit down order two different kinds of Menemen and ayran and look around this typical Turkish street. Tables with at least four men are everywhere in this street. The men are either playing tavla (backgammon) or rummicub, two games you see lots of older Turkish men playing. Mostly men, or young people. One table in particular draws my attention, three old men and one younger are playing a game of rummicub. Apparently it’s an exciting game as people stop at the table and watch the game. Our Menemen is brought to us so unfortunately I’m not able to see what’s so exciting.
The breakfast is as delicious as always, I can never have enough of it. We decide to continue our walk through Kadiköy as at some point we have to take the boat back to the European side. When we walk along the boulevard it feels like we are miles away from Istanbul. There at the horizon we see Sultanahmet Camii, Hagia Sofia, Galata Tower. It’s all so far away. After eating our pomegranate at the shore we decide it’s time to take the boat back to Europe.
Back at the European side of Istanbul there is so much to see, to do. From the Büyük Pazari to Sultanahmet Camii and from the Basilica Cistern to Taksim. We decide to visit Suleymaniye Camii, the mosque with the best view over Istanbul I believe. The doors are closed so we can’t look inside but it doesn’t matter this building is already very impressive from the outside. One day built to become a bigger mosque than Sultanahmet Camii. Well, that he is not but this mosque might be as gigantic as Sultanahmet Camii.
It’s time to eat again. This time we meet a very nice gentleman. He lived in Maastricht, the Netherlands as a refugee for three years. During his time in the Netherlands he learned the language (now speaks eight!) and got his residence permit to stay there. However, it was never his intention to leave Turkey so when the moment came he could return to his motherland he did, right away. He now works at a restaurant and is very happy he is back home. Though he doesn’t earn a lot of money and the job is a bit below his intelligence he is happy that he can live here in peace. The story moved us so we decide to eat a gözleme here. Not a bad choice cause the gözleme is delicious. And the beer in secret glass as well.
While walking through the büyük pazari or better known as big bazaar we decide to buy some beautiful Turkish home accessories. Luckily for Y. I speak Turkish and often the salesmen give us a Turkish price instead of a price special for tourists. I’m quite proud of my Turkish and of my haggle. Afterwards I decide it’s time for what might be the best meal in the world: Iskender. We sit at a very Turkish place with a view on the beautiful Suleymaniye mosque. The iskender is delicious, the view magical. It kind of feels like being in a fairy tale.
We walk home with our beautiful accessories and a bag full with impressions of east and west Istanbul. There is only one more thing to do today. That is watching a football match of Turkey in a nice little pub while drinking Efes. Turkey wins, Istanbul celebrates. We get back to our hotel, not able to wait for what tomorrow brings!