Wandering and wondering in Istanbul

Istanbul is a paradise for photographers, for musicians, for idealists, for foodies – and probably for you too. I had the pleasure of spending three very full and exciting days there last week with a friend from my old uni, and as it happened, we got a great feel for what it’s like being local there, and what fears and struggles life brings about in Turkey at the moment.

And so in between stuffing my face with Köfte and dancing to and with a jazz band (!) near Taksim, I did a little interview series with six young people. We talked about the influx of refugees (which really isn’t a new issue), the war that’s raging in eastern Turkey which produces very similar pictures to Syria and whether Europe should do more to support Turkey. Whether or not people supported Erdogan, the answer to the last question was always yes.

The trip was very, very moving because I got such a unique insight into the minds and hearts of people who are my age, who are passionate about the same things – and who just happen to live in a country that is increasingly struggling. And so within 48 hours, my phone was filled with numbers of angels who offered to help, listen, explain – or all of the above, and I have rarely experienced that anywhere else.

Public transport confused me endlessly, I spent dozens of euros by calling friends, asking them to rescue me from random corners. Because of that, I didn’t really take a lot of notes on where we were, but I managed to track down three cards of cafes I liked, thank God I’m not a travel journalist (oh wait). Here they are: the Velvet Cafe in Galata, Cafe Cakehouse and the Sirin Firin Bakery for beautiful cakes and big brunches and the Komşu Kafe Collective for long conversations with strangers. Istanbul is something else and to experience it properly, you gotta dive right in and let go. Next time I’ll bring more time and techno from Berlin. ❤

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