T1 (what my bff and I do when we go off on tangents during an email rant … we label, prompting the reader for an unrelated but somewhat related divergent. T = tangent, the number that follows = which tangent we’re on. You’ve been warned). So for my first tangent, I’d like to give you a useless fact about myself.
Useless Fact: I keep a travel bag that is always semi-packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Toiletries, shorts, T-shirts, camera equipment… I only ever have to do minor additions based on travel destination.
Caveat - not a tangent because it’s totally related to the travel experience - I was the most comfortable traveling around Turkey compared to many other places I have visited. Being a foreigner posed no real issue, aside from language. I was very much at ease and felt extremely safe.
Three to four days average in each location did leave me quite tired, all while managing a 7 hour time difference. That’s why I saved the South for last. The beach is the best place to recoup for a beach bum. Dangle that carrot in front of my face and you can pretty much get me to hike anywhere for however long.
I decided to try something new with bookings. I was traveling with 3 other people, each with a different traveling style and comfort level. I didn’t know how I was going to make sure everyone was accommodated and comfortable throughout the stay, so I decided to try AirBnB. I had only used it once a couple years back, so I gave it a go for the entire trip. Having the APP on my phone made it so easy. Starting out in Istanbul, I rented a quaint apt in Karaköy, only a 10 minute walk from Galata Tower, and within a 30 minute walk of all other main attractions. Across the street was the metro station and around the corner, local taxis. The shopping and food options were replete. It was a great location for my first time in Istanbul. The city averages 20 million bodies, so any other location further to the center of town may have been too overwhelming. If you are in Istanbul looking for a place to stay, I suggest you look up one of Özge Bayamlioglu’s places on AirBnB. She has 6 apts in Istanbul.
I fell in love with four things in Istanbul. Kikero Falafel for food, Tola Tola for clothes, Maya Kumpir (the loaded potato you absolutely have to try), and fresh pressed juices. Pomegranates fell off of trees like they didn't even know their value. I laughed at the irony of something being so expensive when it's imported, but standing on a corner waiting for a bus and just yanking one off of a tree. I ate and drank like a goddess every day.
I closed out my few days in Istanbul, after realizing this crowd has a selfie-stick addiction.
T3 - no seriously, they sell them on every single corner all day long. And I know for a fact I’m floating around on all kinds of international social media networks hashtagged as ‘the girl who couldn’t duck her way out of a selfie shot’. It was the craziest thing I had experienced. I went from being annoyed to being amused to feeling left out. So, I snapped a few myself. I mean … when in Instanbul…