In A Nutshell

I don’t even know where to begin, but all you really need to know is how beautiful Istanbul is, and I think the above photo (straight from the camera, no edits) does it pretty good justice! 

My experience in Istanbul was possibly different than most, having a friend who’s living there, and able to play tour guide for me. (Not to mention his Turkish is on point)

*Fun story: having a beard of decent length called the attention of many Turkish people, which they gave me the nickname “Haji” which is the title given to a Muslim who has successfully completed his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. This turned out to be nice as I wasn’t hassled as I walked around they city.

Toby (pictured above, on the left) graciously showed me around Istanbul, hitting big tourist spots and more. The first thing we visited, as I’m sure you guessed, was the Ayasofya (Hagia Sophia).

*side note: I’m shooting medium format for my upcoming BFA solo exhibition in October; stay tuned for more info.

And the Blue Mosque, which is located directly across from the Ayasofya.

We also took to the Bazaar and local markets throughout Istanbul.

Another excursion along the way was a hamam, traditional Turkish bath. I must say, you’ve never had a bath until you’ve experienced this. The bathing process includes an exfoliating type scrubbing which removes all dead skin, leaving you “truly” squeaky clean.

Other sights included the basilica cistern, İstiklal Avenue, a Bosphorus boat tour and more.

To speak more about the city of Istsnbul here it is in a nutshell. There are feral cats and stray dogs everywhere.

Traffic is absurd—and you though LA is bad—how do you think traffic is in a city with 18–20 million people?

However, they do have great public transportation options including, taxis, buses, trams, metro and ferries. Which were all very convenient and worked together on one system, like the Clipper Card we have in the Bay Area. As mentioned, the population of Istanbul is out of hand, leaving you packed liked sardines on most pubtrans options throughout the the day. One traffic solution I found smart, was that some bus lines on the freeways had their on lane (pictured below) in the middle of the freeway to bypass all traffic.

Well…there’s Istanbul in a nutshell; I feel I could talk about it forever but I will leave it here for now. I may come back to visit on certain topics in more detail in future posts. 

Lastly, I’d like to thank, first and foremost, Toby, for taking the time to show me the magic of Istanbul, and giving me a place to stay. I’d also like to thank my new friends (pictured below, and Jan) for creating amazing memories which will surely last a lifetime!

Left to right – Me, Elif, Nur, Resmiye, Toby

Teşekkür! (Thank you)


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