On the weekends, something special happens: music fills Istanbul’s busiest street. Most Friday and Saturday evenings, there is a wonderful addition to the old street car that runs through the heart of Taksim, along the pedestrian street of Istiklal. Behind it, you will find a moving stage car with a group of musicians performing inside of it. Each night there is a different band playing a different type of music. I have heard everything from salsa to blues to rock and roll. As the old street car moves down Istanbul’s busiest street, the musicians play. Catching a short performance is always the highlight to my evening.
Read more about the Tramway here.
As you may know, Cihangir is home to many cozy, charming and lively cafes that offer wonderful breakfasts. One of my favorite weekend activities is a breakfast date in Cihangir. As a result, over the past year I have written rave reviews about several different breakfast places in Cihangir. But, if you only have one morning in Cihangir, you must go to Van Kahvalti Evi.
This place is the star of the Cihangir breakfast scene. There are lines of young hipsters and expats along the sidewalk, awaiting a coveted seat in this bustling cafe. The staff runs around delivering one glass of tea after another and work harder than any other wait staff I have ever seen. Several minutes after you place your order, numerous small plates cover the table. Unfamiliar delicacies await you. They include a ground walnut paste with honey, a hearty mixture of wheat and egg and the best tahini you wil ever sample. Additionally, a wide variety of incredibly fresh cheeses, the juiciest tomatoes, fresh kaymak (clotted cream) and homemade honey. Read the rest of this entry
One of my close friends returned to the United States this week. He was my Turkish study partner, as well as our neighbor. Before he left, we had the opportunity to celebrate with him and his roommates. We spent last Saturday on the Golden Horn.
One of the best things about Istanbul is the numerous opportunities to celebrate along the Bosphorus. I have spent evenings in terrace bars and hotels with 180 degree views of the Bosphorus. I have enjoyed glorious nights hanging off the Bosphorus at seaside bars and restaurants. And, this week we explored the Golden Horn in a small little boat with 12 interesting people who were all in Istanbul for different reasons. We had a Copy Editor for the Turkish Daily News, a Spanish translator who translates Ottoman maritime texts into English, a Turkish lawyer and an aspiring pastry chef. Read the rest of this entry
This year was my fifth Thanksgiving away from home. While it breaks my heart to away from the established traditions, lively discussions, delicious food and my wonderful friends and family, I am delighted by the wonderful new and established traditions that shape my own celebration!
My friend and I befriended a Turkish man with a New York accent on the bus, while we were returning from the Sabanci Museum yesterday. He was a Business professor at the esteemed Bogazaci University and lived in the United States for many years, while teaching at Temple University. We started by talking about Seattle and the Bosphorus, but after leaving the bus, our interaction continued with one final conversation. He reemerged from the crowd to wish us a happy Thanksgiving. In fact, he was off to celebrate with his Turkish American friends!
He inspired us. His enthusiasm for American life and Thanksgiving was surprising, but also endearing. Originally, I was saving all of my energy for our established weekend extravaganza with friends (we always reschedule Thanksgiving festivities to ensure we get the whole weekend to celebrate and prepare), but we decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner of our own last night as well. Now, keep in mind we came to this decision at 6 PM last night…so we did not have much time.
How do you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner in 2 hours? Read the rest of this entry
After 3 1/2 years there are still new experiences awaiting me in Istanbul. Here are some of the places I want to explore this Fall:
1.) Visit SALT Galata
2.) Visit the Istanbul Aquarium
3.) Read The Museum of Innocence, then go to the Museum of Innocence
4.) Spend the Evening at Sefahathane
5.) Admire the Mosaics of the Chora Church