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Old 02-13-2007, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Gulfport, MS
469 posts, read 2,556,352 times
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I used to live in the amazing city of Istanbul, Turkey. I was blown away by my time there and I'd highly recommend it to anyone. The palaces and mosques are incredible (although the hawkers surrounding them get annoying), the food is delicious, and the living is inexpensive. My favorite sights in Istanbul were:

-- Aya Sofya, still astonishing today after a thousand years. In some spots you can see medieval graffitti in Greek letters carved into the stone.
-- Topkapi Sarayi, the old palace of the sultans, now a museum housing such artifacts as what's reputed to be the arm of St. John the Baptist (although if it's really his arm, he was a tiny man!), Mehmet the Conqueror's sword, and the Prophet Muhammad's beard hairs.
-- Dolmabahce Sarayi, the most recent palace (check out that chandelier, said to be the biggest in the world!).
-- Fatih Cammi, the Mosque of the Conqueror, the resting place of Mehmet II, a peaceful mosque definitely worth a side trip.
-- Cemberlitas Hamam, a bathhouse dating from the 16th century in which I had the most wonderfully relaxing time.
-- And of course the Blue Mosque, beautiful on the outside and then on the inside -- wow! I send my mother a photo of it, and she wrote back asking, "what palace is this?" Also of interest is the crypts attached to the mosque for the wives and children of the sultans.

One of my British friends described the whole Topkapi/Blue Mosque/Aya Sofya area of Sultanahmet as the most sublime two miles in the world. Maybe it can be topped, but I haven't seen it yet.
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Old 02-14-2007, 01:16 AM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,361,100 times
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I was offered a teaching position in Istanbul a few years ago and turned it down because at the time, I was set to take another teaching position in Argentina. That position wound up falling through and I was kicking myself for some time for not taking the job in Istanbul, although there wasn't much I could do about it. I love Istanbul. It's the most fascinating city I have ever been to. I stayed in a hostel fairly close to Sultanahmet, on a street with a large concentration of hostels, and every night, we would go up to the roof of our hostel, looking at the ancient roofs of the city on the one side, the Bosphorus on the other, and drink and chat late into the evening, occasionally with our conversation pierced by the wails emanating from the towering minarets as a call to prayer.

It was so cheap there. My hostel was $6/night and I could eat a full meal for $2. The hawkers and restauranteurs could be equally charming and irritating (i.e. if I had to hear "excuse me, my friend, come come...." one more time...). The city was such a unique mishmash of various European, Arab and Asian influences, and it's location is beautiful. I definitely plan to go back one day.

Mississippienne (wow, long word ), if you don't mind my asking, what brought you to Istanbul to live?
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Old 02-19-2007, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Gulfport, MS
469 posts, read 2,556,352 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dullnboring View Post
Mississippienne (wow, long word ), if you don't mind my asking, what brought you to Istanbul to live?
I was hired by a local Turkish family to aupair for their daughter. I loved the kid, the dad liked me, but the mom hated my guts. Long story short, I only ended up staying with them for 3 months. But I had an INCREDIBLE experience in Istanbul. Even my worst experience makes for good dinner conversation -- on Istiklal Caddesi I accidently stumbled into a Communist protest march and got tear-gassed. Traumatic at the time, kind of amusing now. I didn't get hit by the hawkers so bad as you (maybe I gave off poor vibes...) but the clumsy flirting was funny. "Oh, Natasha, Natasha!" The Turkish men always assumed I was a Russian girl.

I met some great folks, struck up a conversation with a girl named Doga on the bus one day, met a Serbian fellow who took me to a Baba Zula concert another day. Fantastic band, by the way.
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Old 02-19-2007, 04:49 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,361,100 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mississippienne View Post
I didn't get hit by the hawkers so bad as you (maybe I gave off poor vibes...) but the clumsy flirting was funny. "Oh, Natasha, Natasha!" The Turkish men always assumed I was a Russian girl.
Turkish men really love Russian women for some reason. Many conversations I had with Turkish men somehow turned to their love of Russian women. That's no offense meant to Russian women, but it's just sort of a fetish that I wasn't aware of prior to talking to them.

I have to say, I was really impressed by just how multi-lingual the hawkers were. I'm sure that they don't have much formal eduation, to wind up in such a trade, but I saw those guys switch effortlessly with tourists between English, French, German, Italian, and other languages. They seemed to know at least the very basic greetings and sales pitch sayings in every language known to man. They would generally just try calling after tourists passing by in language after language, not knowing where they were from, until one of them "stuck".
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Gulfport, MS
469 posts, read 2,556,352 times
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I talked to some Turkish friends about the Russian women thing -- Turkey is a major tourist destination for Russians, and the Russian girls have a tendency to hit the bars, get drunk, and sleep around. So of course the Turkish guys think they've died and gone to heaven.

One thing I was telling a friend about today was "Allah Korusun" painted on the rear windows of all the cars -- probably because they drive so crazy. Turks drive on both sides of the street, the sidewalk, wherever's handy. Stop signs and redlights are merely suggestions. It was odd going from Turkey back to the USA, where we drive like good little sheep!
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:28 AM
 
1 posts, read 9,180 times
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I'm from Turkey and living Istanbul. I loved your posts about Istanbul and i'm happy you like our city. It was really funny to read your comments about ''russian girls.'', ''hawkers'' etc. You understood us well i guess But i prefer girls from Holland
We are just sorry about that many people on the world thinking about us wrong. Thinking like we are uneducated and old-fashioned types. Thinkin we are wearing like Arabs and we dont know anything about technology. There was a guy that asked me once ''Are u goin school with Camel?''
As a people who see Istanbul you should know that we are not like that. And if u come back sometimes we will just be happier to show u our true hospitality. (but there are some hick types in here though i should accept that ) Actually you can see any type of person in Istanbul cause of its location.
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:08 AM
 
Location: "The Gorge"
905 posts, read 3,068,338 times
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I was in Istanbul this past summer and loved it! Istanbul is much larger thatn I expected. My accomodations were in the tourist area of Sultanahamet which is centrally located. The carpet salesmen were a bit agressive, I learned to say "No Tessecur" (sp?) or No Thank You in Turkish really quick. It helped lots. Everyone was really nice and very helpful even if you were not interested in buying anything. Only one guy seemed perturbed I did not want to buy anything. I would go back to Istanbul in a heartbeat. Once off the beaten path navigation was a little difficult due to no signs.

Here are a couple of pics Galata Tower and The Spice Market



http://i174.photobucket.com/albums/w93/CRock194/LJUISTCruise137
.jpg (broken link)

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Old 03-19-2007, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Gulfport, MS
469 posts, read 2,556,352 times
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Yay! More love for Istanbul. atalay, when I told my American friends I was going to Istanbul, some of them asked me, "Do they have camels there?" Now all my friends are terribly jealous after seeing my photos and hearing my stories, and they all want to visit Istanbul, too! I had to tell them that I didn't see any camels, I did see some goats and a pod of wild dolphins in the Bosphorus one day, though.

Some of my photos:

At Dolmabahce Sarayi.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1.../istanbul2.jpg

Me standing across from Asya (Asian) side of Istanbul.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1.../istanbul4.jpg

Gravestones outside an old cammi (mosque) in Istanbul.
http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1.../istanbul5.jpg

Breakfast in Taksim.
http://img301.imageshack.us/img301/2...e072hf4.th.jpg

One of the musicians from Baba Zula.
http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/2...e019yp0.th.jpg

A lady doing oryantal dansi (bellydancing) at the Baba Zula concert.
http://img301.imageshack.us/img301/3...e029bu3.th.jpg
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:10 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,361,100 times
Reputation: 1792
Quote:
Originally Posted by atalay View Post
I'm from Turkey and living Istanbul. I loved your posts about Istanbul and i'm happy you like our city. It was really funny to read your comments about ''russian girls.'', ''hawkers'' etc. You understood us well i guess But i prefer girls from Holland
We are just sorry about that many people on the world thinking about us wrong. Thinking like we are uneducated and old-fashioned types. Thinkin we are wearing like Arabs and we dont know anything about technology. There was a guy that asked me once ''Are u goin school with Camel?''
As a people who see Istanbul you should know that we are not like that. And if u come back sometimes we will just be happier to show u our true hospitality. (but there are some hick types in here though i should accept that ) Actually you can see any type of person in Istanbul cause of its location.
Camels? Hehe.

Don't worry. There are misconceptions about every country on Earth. Some people seem to think the streets of the U.S. are paved with gold, with a Disneyland on every corner, where we all live in mansions and look like the cast of Baywatch. Then some people think we're uneducated, arrogant, fat, lazy, war-mongering, gun-toting sloths with zero culture. The truth meets somewhere in the middle .

I have to say, of all the countries I've been to, Turkey was by FAR the most hospitable country. I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't know what reaction I'd be met with considering the timing when I was there (right after the war with Iraq started) but everyone was exceedingly friendly.

A few things surprised me about Istanbul. One thing was the seemingly few tourists around. For such a beautiful well-known large city, there were very few tourists that I could see. Another thing that surprised me was the large number of women I saw wearing head scarves or even more conservative Islamic dress. I knew of Turkey as an officially secular country (albeit one that is 99% Muslim) and from all that I had read, head scarves were a rarity in Istanbul where you're more likely to see girls in tight jeans and belly shirts than a burqa. So I was quite surprised when I saw a very large number of women covered up. I heard several theories while over there from local Turks. One was that the women were either tourists from elsewhere in the Middle East or Turkey, or that the women were recent immigrants from the more conservative Turkish countryside. Two, I heard that an increasing number of men and women were becoming more religious and some more radicalized due to war in Iraq. Three, I heard from a local Turkish merchant that radical Islamic groups were actually paying poor women to don the head scarf in an effort to influence the city's overall culture. And four, I was just in the more conservative parts of the city. Who knows the real reason but it was a bit surprising.

Oh, and something else I didn't expect was just how hilly the city was. My legs were so sore! I also have to say that the Grand Bazaar was sort of a letdown but the other bazaars were pretty nice.

I want to go back so badly!
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Old 03-23-2007, 07:22 PM
 
1 posts, read 9,128 times
Reputation: 13
Default If you want, I can help you

Hello. I am from turkey. I live in istanbul. I am a teacher. If you came to istanbul, ı can help anyone. I want meet new friends..İstanbul istorical and world city. and, account city.
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