In just 5 days, I depart for Copenhagen. This city is full of buzz and color. It is constantly ranked at the top of any list that assesses urban quality of life. It is constantly gaining recognition for huge strides in eco-friendly living. It is famous for its design, bicycle-filled streets and the numerous Michelin starred restaurants. The city is full of museums, colorful cafes and the oldest amusement park in the world. It is also home to an autonomous counter-culture community housed in a former military base. This city seems to charm each and every one of its visitors with its captivating and global art scene, innovative culinary accomplishments and colorful streets… Additionally, I have learned that Copenhagen is crazy about Halloween! Read more here. A flash light tour of the palace?! Yes, please.
I have also used this trip as an excuse to explore some new blogs and websites. My favorites?
VisitCopenhagen.com: A wonderful list of all the best foods, shops, restaurants, streets and attractions in Copenhagen! You can make a list of your favorites and compile your own guide. You can find a link to my guide here!
Stay.com: This website serves as an interactive trip planner and guide. You can read profiles about each of the city’s trademark tourist attractions and it will help you build a list of places to see, while also helping you to plan each day of your trip. I cannot wait to try it!
My Sweet Copenhagen: This website is full of wonderful photographs. The writer presents the mystique and charms of Copenhagen for the whole world to see. I will certainly write down some of the restaurant recommendations before I go!
Classic Copenhagen: This blog is written by locals determined to share their city, their world and their daily observations with their readers. There are numerous posts about Copenhagen’s eccentric, wonderful and surprising street art. Take a look!
Eat Copenhagen: This wonderful blog highlights the numerous culinary options in Copenhagen. This established foodie has photos, lists and ideas for every person and budget!
Ok, savvy travellers. If you are coming to experience the rich and dynamic cultural offerings of Istanbul you absolutely must experience the following:
Situated along the Bosporus, the breakfast at Cafe Kale thrills and delights absolutely everyone. Within a few minutes of placing your order, your table will be covered by numerous small plates: hot and cold, sweet and savory, there is absolutely something for everyone. It is the perfect way to spend a morning and experience the city.
In recent years, Istanbul’s modern art scene has exploded. The Istanbul Modern is the heart and soul of the art world and has initiated the transformation of the surrounding area. New shops and cafes are popping up around it and interesting exhibits ensure I keep coming back. Situated in an old warehouse along the Bosporus the space alone is worth seeing. It has a fabulous view of the old city and the buzz of activity on the water. The museum’s permanent collection offers a uniquely Turkish palate, landscape and overview of modern Turkish art history. It is the perfect lens to gain additional understanding of modern Turkey. There is a lovely cafe and a great gift shop (perfect for those of you searching for souvenirs).
The city comes alive at night and its treasures are hidden above the chaotic streets. As you wander through Beyoglu, look up and find a terrace to watch the sunset. Many old apartment buildings along the backstreets of Istiklal Caddessi host hidden cafes and restaurants with extraordinary views of the city. My favorite is Balkon, near Tunel. For dancing, try the wonderful top floor bar Araf for Balkan beats and a fabulous view of the city…
The perfect escape from the chaos of city life. In 80 minutes you are transferred to a summertime paradise complete with beach clubs, ice cream stands, bicycle rentals and horse-drawn carriages. The Princes Islands were once where the city’s Greek, Armenian and Jewish intellectual elite spent their summers. The beautiful homes around the city center are a perfect testament to the Ottoman charms that once defined Istanbul as the center of the Ottoman Empire. If you only have one day, go to Buyukada. Be sure to have some ice cream, hike the steep hill to the monastery and drink a beer at the top to enjoy the fantastic view.
I met Kamile at the Ferikoy Antique Bazaar on Sunday. She used to own a store near Galatasaray High School, where she sold her whimsical recycled treasures in the heart of Taksim. This is unique. Recycling is not a widely embraced or established system in Turkey. However, this artist creates unique jewelry out of antiques that have fallen into disrepair and recycled goods that she collects. For anyone who likes jewelry with a story, this is your artist. She sold her store to travel throughout India for the past year and a half. Some of her most interesting necklaces are created with the pieces of her grandfathers old watches. She is thoughtful, creative and truly lovely. Her company is called Dön Dön Dön Durmadan. You can find her blog here and another blogger’s report here.
There is a city-owned gallery at the top of Istiklal Caddessi in Taksim (across from the Burger King) that hosts a variety of different exhibits that are free and open to the public. Whenever I am meeting a friend in Taksim and have a few minutes to kill, I walk through the gallery to see the current exhibition. This month? Beautiful and vibrant paintings of the Istanbul landscape. Next time you have a few minutes to kill, stop by to take a look..
For anyone who lives, works or loves Istanbul, please watch this movie! Ekumenopolis explores the development of Istanbul, as it attempts to distinguish itself as a ‘global city’. It asserts that Istanbul has become a “city without limits” and outlines how the application of neoliberal development policies have been incredibly misguided and destructive. The documentary enlists passionate and insightful urban planners, UN officials, social workers and scholars to explain the current economic boom in Istanbul, and the sad realities that accompany it: the dislocation of communities, a greater divide between the rich and the poor, a lack of environment preservation, the depletion of natural resources, a dependence on automobiles, a lack of investment in public transportation, the separation of housing from jobs and so much more.
It challenges the rhetoric we hear in support of building the third bridge, and notes that instead of easing congestion, it will result in more development, more roads and more cars. It challenges political forces that interfere with the development of the city, and ignore the long-term development plan that already exists. It highlights the condition of migrants forced to leave their villages and move to Istanbul in search of jobs, and shows how this new economy, and the “urban renewal projects” that accompany it have had a devastating impact on the poor. It shares how housing initiatives and the infamous profit-driven TOKI have failed to serve the people who need housing the most.
As Istanbul’s population continues to grow, and more cars fill the roads, there is no plan to stop the growing inequities and environmental destruction. Istanbul is predicted to take over an entire region, without careful planning or preservation. Whether your issue is development, income inequality, migrant workers, environmental destruction, public housing-watch this movie, and share it with your friends.
Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEzqu_z9fRo
Read more here: http://affr.nl/festival_2011/ekafmenopolis_openingfilm_affr.html
Watch some of the film here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYSLIsMhAvM&feature=related
The movie is currently playing at Cine Majestic in Beyoglu (with English subtitles). Find more information here: http://www.cinemajestic.com/
I love these posters! I want each and every one of them. Playing with color and Art Deco style, this poster company presents Turkey’s most famous sites and attractions with fun and flair. These will be on the walls of my home some day…
Check out the full collection here: http://www.turkiyeposterleri.com/