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Istanbul I Love You

Updated: Aug 28, 2020


It's been eighteen days since I came to Istanbul. I have a tendency to fall deeply in love with places, people too, but my attachments to places tends to surpass that of people. Istanbul, Beyoglu in particular, where Max and I have been calling home, has had a very similar effect on me.

 

My grandmother has a very memorable house. Its a huge colonial style house in semi-rural Upstate New York and it saw seven kids through childhood and into adulthood. It also has four bedrooms, a den, a sleeping porch, and a sizable backyard. It was and still is to this day, heaven. I think that house sparked my love of places. I would get attached to a house and then have to move. There was an apartment with an attic bedroom, a house where my bedroom had 9 windows, a parish house (no I did not live in the parish quarters but in the apartment above them, and yes I heard the bells every day) and a tiny ivy covered cottage with marble floors. My homes were very romantic (thank you mom) and I soaked it up like a sponge.


At the tender age of 20 I got an apartment in Brooklyn. And wow the love expanded to neighborhoods. I wont even go into how in love with Brooklyn I am. I didn't even have to say anything Brooklyn related and people could tell I lived there, sponge mentality I guess, I just soaked it up and then it oozed out of me. It would go something like "You live in Bushwick" and my cheery disheartened response would be "Oh my god yes, how did you know?"


"I could tell..."

Anyway moving on. My heart was expanded into being thoroughly entranced not only by my apartment which was also very cute no surprise there, but by my neighborhood. I think it prepared me a little bit for the all encompassing every-faction-of-mind-and-body kind of feeling I have for Istanbul. Like honing into a new vibration. One that sings with you.

 

Of course everyone views a city in their own special and unique way. Thats the great thing about cities, they're individual. Istanbul is no different, no matter who you are there is an Istanbul for you which is so cheesy to say but its true!

So far this is mine.


+ antique stores

+ vintage clothing

+ mental breakdowns over mass transit

+ realizing I like tomatoes (22 year old tomato hater over here)

+ lots and lots of tea

+ cats

+ journaling

+ nighttime shenanigans (now that I am a newborn travel blogger I will let you in on the good spots don't you worry)

+ olives and eggplants should go in everything


Thats my recipe as of right now. But seriously the tram and the train are very different things and they go very different places and it makes it very hard to keep it together in public. And always remember to keep money on your Istanbulcart card because not every station has a refill machine. Learning the hard way results in a wasted outfit and sniffles.

Max and I divide our time by taking photos and going out to eat, something that doesn't harm your wallet as much here as it does in New York. Ending the day typically by sipping beer out of coffee mugs at our favorite little cafe gallery. We go on outings during the week, one was to the Blue Mosque and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Another was to The Princes Islands, a perfect getaway on the sea (see what I mean about honing into the vibration?) But, mostly we traverse neighborhoods. Every time Max and I go to a new place we check out the hub and then quickly dip off to a side street where it's quieter and generally more interesting. This is how we find live music, hidden parks, and prime football (soccer) watching epicenters all over Istanbul. The pandemic was handled well here in Turkey...


"Turkey fits in the category of several countries that responded fairly quickly with testing, tracing, isolation and movement restrictions, it's a fairly small club of countries that have been quite effective in reducing the viral spread."

- Dr Jeremy Rossman, Lecturer in Virology at the University of Kent.



Life resumes out of doors and on the streets with restaurants and markets all being open, as well as live music and bars. Masks are worn as a sign of respect, but are not always enforced. The normalcy is intoxicating. We were able to celebrate a birthday at our little gallery cafe last night and it was truly magical to be gathered with creative likeminded people. I had stumbled into a vintage store the previous day and struck up a conversation with the owner, slipping in that I was potentially looking for a job. Yes I have been here less then a month, yes it is a foreign country that I know nothing about, yes I am very young. And to all your points I say fuck it. Moving on, he took a liking to me I think. I mentioned that I was from New York and I run an online second-hand vintage store. He mentioned a woman, an interior designer with a successful company. He wanted me to meet her. "Come to the cafe tomorrow night, she's throwing a birthday party for her husband" so we went. We drank, and clapped, and smoked, and danced, and made a lot of friends. Hopefully I can get a job out of it, she was a total dynamo...


- Alice


If you want to see some of our exploits check us out on our Youtube Channel!


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