I have already talked about my delicious experiences in Istanbul extensively on this blog. Yet I have only recently come across these photos of one of my best Istanbul nights ever.
This was the night we had dinner at the top of Galatha Tower, from where our random new best friends came to pick us up, to show us a typical Saturday night in the city.
Looking at the pictures now, I realize that, for many different reasons, this is one place I will never cease to miss, for as long as I live.
Quite simply, for someone of Armenian descent who can keep an open mind, it just feels a little bit like home: the faces are the same, the food is the same; it seems as almost everything is the same except for the religion, the language and the accepted version of history.
On this particular night, I was fortunate to enjoy it all in the company of two of my best travel-mates ever Maria from Lisbon and Stephanie from Canada. I don´t recall very well how we had landed the randoms in question (on every port, when we were on cruises, Stephanie and I seemed to have a talent to find some locals who would show us around non-touristy places, in exchange of the pleasure of our company. Personally, I feel that traveling without getting to know any local people well is like the dullest thing in the world.
The attitude of Turkish boys when it comes to foreign women, with more relaxed dating habits than traditional Turkish girls can be a bit fishy, but we were sort of experienced in dodging the advances of “Randoms” everywhere, and we managed to have a good time. Our friend Tiffany was not so lucky, as she almost got driven to a motel, when she had actually asked to go back to the ship, by a taxi driver with no concept of Western dating etiquette, to put it elegantly.
So, here it is, magic Istanbul at night. Not as traditional as they say and not as Westernized as you think, a beautiful contradiction that will take your breath away.