Exploring Istanbul

Café life in Istanbul

When you don’t know that much about a country the little things gives you the goosebumps. Of course I know of Turkey and I’ve actually visit the country years back on a trip to Alanya with some guys. But that was all partying. Now it’s more president Erdogan in the news and how much people in the West dislike him that fills your mind about Turkey.

The first day in Istanbul I landed at the Taksim Square. I don’t know why but it gave me goosebumps. I know the Taksim Square from the news. Every time there’s trouble in Turkey and the people flocks to the streets of Istanbul to demonstrate they go to Taksim. Therefore this square was special when I got there for the first time.

I didn’t know Istanbul that well before I got here. I had heard a lot about how great the city was but didn’t know of any attractions. I just knew I wanted to go. Sometimes you do. The main purpose of my trip to Turkey was hot air ballooning in Cappadocia but Istanbul have been very high on my bucket list for years.

Everybody told me that it is a metropolis and have a great atmosphere. They also told me that the city is very divided in two. The European side and the Asian side. There suppose to be a big difference.

As the European side is considered a metropolis the Asian side is considered much more conservative. After spending a day on the European side it made sense to go for a run on the other side. I wanted to see. I wanted to experience this divided city and the big difference in culture and in people showing their religion.

I was surprised. There is no difference. Once again I’ve listened to all these travel experiences from others and made them in to my own idea about the world. I don’t say I’ve seen everything there is to see in Istanbul. I know Istanbul is huge but I’ve seen enough to conclude that the difference ain’t that big as people told me.

So why not? What did I see? I went for a jog/run towards Çamlıca Hill and afterwards to Kadıköy. The thing is I covered 15 kilometres and of course I saw differences. Especially did I see some areas in between my two destinations that almost seemed abandoned and very poor. Areas that I believe is gone in two or three years as they are being tear down and new skyscrapers are being built.

But the Asian side also contains the University. University means young people and the area of Kadıköy is just full of young people. Clearly they are not conservative. They are the next generation. And whether Erdogan want a more conservative country or not these young women is out there enjoying a cup of coffee and having fun. And it is more common that out of four women sitting at a table one is wearing a scarf than it is the other way around.

Once again my impression of how the world looks like got turned around and I learned something new. Now this will be my story in the future and whether you believe it or not I will encourage you to go see for yourself.

Leave a Reply