“ISTANBUUUL… ISTANBUUUL…” That’s what we were chanting on the streets, parks, undergrounds, palaces, in the trams–in practically all the places we’ve stepped on in Istanbul. (Of course, except inside the massive Mosques which required silence, poise, jazz walks and camera flashes off.)
Sanat means Art in English. The chanting therefore was our performance sanat of sorts when we were immersed in that epic adventure of the ancient city.
Gorge Panorama Credit: Tin Gumabay (I was probably beside Tin wiggling and dancing to the tune of The Shutter! eih-eih-eih-ee-heh-ee-eih!)
Without a hint of fear or doubt, we claim that Istanbul (Turkey) is by far the most beautiful city we’ve been to. (Current count of major cities visited: Europe: 1; North & South America: 0; Asia & Middle East: Approx. 131.) So you see, we still have a lot of places that we need to go, see, and compare. So let’s stick with the earlier statement for now.
Expect a lot of superlatives (or maybe not) as you read along and we will not apologise for it. Turkey is really captivating and it deserves a big clap of appreciation. (yez plez, Yez Plez, YEZ PLEZ!)
Aside from the beautiful architecture (its mosques, palaces, old and modern buildings), its pastel bodies of water (gulfs, bays, straits and [un-holy] springs) the land is just filled with a lot of beautiful people. In fact, all of them are beautiful. Maybe so, at least based on what we perceive as beautiful, Asian or European. It does connect both continents anyway (via the Bosphorus Bridge).
Photo Credit: Beea-trice Guidote
The very moment we were done settling at our apartment in Sultanahmet (or the Old Istanbul City), we quickly hit the road to buy our individual Istanbulkarts to get us to Taksim Square (aka “Starvation Station” to borrow the line from Jessica & Hunter lol) via the Tram for dinner and to meet Bea’s friends Yusuf and Ebru. With them were another friendly and very welcoming twosome, Ezra and Peter.
Immediately after we met the lovely couples, who travelled all the way from Angkara, the capital city of Turkey, just to see us and show us around; they first walked us through the very famous and controversial Gezi Park. That’s also where the uprising and silent protests were being held. Way to go, Turkey!
While traipsing the park, Yusuf shared the stories of rebellion and he pointed at corners where the protesters camped. There was a familiar feeling and thought which gave us goose bumps as we remembered our own protests (mostly nonviolent) back home, as student activists. (Our hearts skipped and cried a bit as we imagined the Turkish people lying down the park trying to protect and retain it using only their bodies—a very touching image indeed as it truly belongs to the people and not to be converted into some shopping mall.)
After the zig-zag walk along the Istiklal Caddesi (Turkish for Street or Avenue), we ended up here: Sanat
Seated on the 6th storey, we rushed to get our ice-cold Efeses and Bromontis (Turkey’s own local beers) for refreshments. #Nomskies!
The funny waiter offered to do a pose with us. A cutesy gesture but then he subsequently asked if we are on Facebook. (Erm.. yes, apparently.)
Thanks to the clever and very artsy dinner venue recommendation of Yusuf and Ebru. (Oh, we’ve missed to visit the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, it would’ve made the Istanbul adventures more swell!)
Kim’s choice: Adana Kebap (Spicy Meatballs on Skewers)
Tin’s yummy pick: Pacanga Borek (Deep fried Phylee Pastry with Pastrami and Tomato Filling); Karen & Bea had this interesting dish called Yaprak Ciger or Fried Leaf Liver.
Many other authentic and exciting lunches, dinners and street foods came thereafter. We left Istanbul on the 5th day for an unforgettable escape at the paradise island of Izmir. Particularly in Kedinlar Denizi (In Turkish, it literally means Ladies Beach or Sea of Women).
Did our straight and single guys meet some beautiful ladies out there? The sacred pact, “Whatever happens in Turkey, stays in the Whatsapp group!”
Stories coming up: Oz Urfa Kebab House and a salute to The Most Beautiful Turkish Man alive.
eugephemisms: The expression of oneself thru art is to pour forth a beautiful energy. One that is connected to the heart.