Tag Archives: Culture

10 Essential Istanbul Experiences

Standard
Photo Credit

Ok, savvy travellers. If you are coming to experience the rich and dynamic cultural offerings of Istanbul you absolutely must experience the following:

1.)  A Full Turkish Breakfast at Cafe Kale

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.

2.) The Istanbul Modern

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).

3.) Watch the Sunset from a Terrace Bar

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…

4.) A Day on the Islands

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Advertisements

Beauty and the Beast Bewitches a New Audience

Standard

My class recently earned a popcorn party for their excellent manners and behavior at lunch time. The school-wide lunch competition deserves a post of its own, but the movie party is today’s topic. After a passionate vote, we selected Beauty and the Beast, one of my absolute favorite movies when I was a child. In fact, I was probably the same age as my students when Beauty and the Beast first arrived in theaters. I remember requesting to go each weekend the film played at the funky old theater near our house in West Seattle. The free-spirited character of Belle, and her love for books appealed to me. The music and the characters thrilled me. And, all of this came rushing back to me, as I munched on popcorn with two adorable girls fighting for my lap. The boys covered their eyes for the kissing scenes and the entire class was captivated whenever the beloved characters broke into song. While the entire film was dubbed in Turkish, memories from my childhood filled in the gaps, providing me with the opportunity to enjoy every minute of the film with my students.

Curious to see Beauty and the Beast with a Turkish twist? Here is the scene for ‘Be Our Guest’  We devoted 30 minutes of our evening to watching various disney songs in Arabic, French, Turkish, German and Spanish. In every language, the magic and meaning still comes through….

See for yourself…