A month in Istanbul
It’s been exactly a month since I arrived to this amazing city but it feels like I’ve lived here for many months already. Here are some observations and my favourite things so far.
Oh man, the people of Istanbul are my absolutely favourite “thing” here. I already wrote how much some of them helped me in my first days but it continues now. It’s not just how helpful some of them are when you are lost on the street (I am lost many times in many places everywhere I go so I know). Many of them speak zero English but they still try to help. Example: I wanted to buy somehitng that was discounted (in the supermarket) but I dind’t understand the label and the cashier didn’t speak English. Then an old man gave me his customer card to use so I didn’t have to pay full price. Another time I was in metro and there was no hanger that I could reach so I was kind of shaking in the crowd. Then again an old man gave me his sit and he told me that as I am too short to reach it I may fall. I hesitated but he insisted so yeah, people are nice.* Not to even mention my new Turkish friends who do not only help me but also indtroduce me to their friends and take me to places I wouln’t go on my own. Talking about the people of Istanbul I would add Erasmus friends who partially belong to the city too and they are awesome as well. And I live in an international flat which is one of the greatest parts of my stay here. I am having a time of my life here and that’s mostly because of the people. Teşekkür ❤
*Of course if they could learn how to stay in the line, let other leave the bus first before they get in and if they didn’t cheat while shopping – would be much better but we can’t have everything 🙂
2. The city itself
I love Istanbul because of its greatness. It’s huge and rich in terms of history. Napoleon Bonaparte said that If the world were a single state Istanbul would be it’s capital (back in his times probably I couldn’t agree more) and despite many disadvantages of living here for good I think that’s one of the best cities I have ever visited. I just love when I go to school and I pass Haghia Sophia or when I can see Asia just from some hill here. It’s absolutely amazing how diverse the city is – we have a lot of historical places (including those from UNESCO Heritage List), local markets, beautiful parks, ports but there are also partying areas, bussines centers, one of the Europe’s biggest shopping malls and the list could go on. One can find tourists and hipsters in the centre and then two metro stations away women with faces covered. I love moqsues a lot (for an architecture) and when they call for prayers five times a day I do not get annoyed (unlike my friends) but I really enjoy it. And the crowds do not bother me, India was much worse in this regard. Actually in some parts it reminds me of India which makes me love the city even more. Istanbul is stunning, beautiful and absolutely I haven’t seen anything in this kind before. Twenty minutes and I am in Asia, thanks.
Here you never know. Sometimes you wake up and there is no running water. Sometimes a guy selling perfumes on the street screams 20 liras but when you do not pay attention he says five and then at the end the it costs 1 lira. You never know if tomorrow sun will burn your face and it will be 30 degress outside or if you have to take an umbrella, coat and run to save yourself. You do not know if there will be class tomorrow and they won’t announce it. When you wait for an hour to get your paperwork done and you are finally there an they tell you to go to the oher room to get one stamp and come back (and again wait for an hour or more). You never know. It is annoying, of course. But it happens to be funny sometimes, I mean if you can’t change it – accept it. Life becomes easier.
Food in the canteen and the view from the canteen 😉
4. The variety
You can get literally everything in this city, when it comes to shopping, meeting people or spending your time. Once I wander around narrow streets next to the small mosque and kids are playing football on the street and the other time I am having a party on the boat. Sometimes I eat dinner that costs one euro but on the same street there are fancy cars, expensive restaurants and rich people in their branded clothes. I can have an international party with people from all around the world but sometimes I am having a tea with Turkish friends in a calm cafe. Erasmus gives me this opportunity that I can do a lot and try many things but Erasmus in Istanbul may just double the experience. The very cheap univeristy canteen allows me to eat with the Bosphorus view and a simple metro ride make me watch Asia from the train. And well, recently I am also kind of witnessing very bad things going on but obviously I would prefer it to be calm.
I love traveling, of course. And here I do not have to out of town to travel because it’s so big and has a lot to offer. Commuting to univeristy gives me a taste of travelling and every corner gives me something different to see, try. I am not a very big fan of Turkish food but there are really great things (and different than Turkish restaurants in Europe offer) to try and I already had a chance to taste a lot of them. The same with drinks 😉 Oh, and they have amazing fruits here! During this month spent here I travelled just a bit, visited Ankara, Yalova and Princes’ Islands but Istanbul is also an amazing place to travel from – endless airlines, bus companies and I just can’t wait to see more. I feel like constantly travelling because I see different people, exotic food, internationally famous buildings and plamtrees everyday. And I love it.
I can already say that it will be another “the best time in my life” but it’s hard to compare this experience, this city and this exchange with others so I am ust very happy to be that satisfied again. Considering the very hard beginning I must say that my luck never leaves me 🙂
To be continued 😉