I was very excited about Istanbul. I have never been and heard a lot from Sascha and many others. A 15 million people city, difficult to imagine for me, it is almost the population of Kazakhstan and this is a big country. We planned our stay in Istanbul thoroughly – first week we stayed with Sascha’s college friend Lev and his girlfriend Deniz. Funny that Sascha meets with Lev elsewhere but his home country. Now it is Istanbul for the second time.
For the second week we moved to the touristy part of the city into a rental apartment with our parents that are coming to see us from Germany and Kazakhstan.
That means we have a lot of home work to do before they arrive. Update the blog as usual, but also apply for visa at the Indian Consulate. It took us a couple of days just to get an appointment and fill the online applications, so we were already anticipating to face the bureaucracy machine. Long story short – 3 visits of the consulate and we got the visas. Luckily Lev’s and Deniz’s apartment is close by.
From the first moment we felt like at home. The guys live in an Armenian neighbourhood close to Taksim – a young and vibrant district of Istanbul which reminded me of Neukölln in Berlin a bit. Mix of young stylish people and families in traditional clothing; busy streets, a lot of shops and nice food and tea places. Plus maybe the fact that I was in Istanbul for the first time and the guys spoke German 😀
From day one Lev and Deniz had a tight Istanbul introduction schedule for us – friends’ birthday parties one after another. Great people, so many new people I have met, Turkish and foreigners and everyone spoke Turkish. Fascinating! Istanbul never sleeps. At night you see as many people as in the day light. Amazing night life and it kept us sober – a drink at a bar costs almost as much as our daily budget 🙂
I must say Deniz and Lev are fantastic Istanbul ambassadors. They always showed us great places off the tourist track – nice homecooked meals, little cafes, traditional tea places, a neighbourhood bazar and at each one they would have a chat with owners or staff as if they have known them for ages. Both of them speak great Turkish and their will to learn the language became the reason to move to Istanbul for some time. They both work on their online projects. Deniz has a blog (http://www.fructopia.de) where she shares her experience and recipes for people with fructose malabsorption. As me and Sascha are food lovers, we were happy to try fructose-free diet and I learned a lot of cooking tips and tricks.
Lev being from a musicians family is a true music expert. So one evening we introduced the guys into the world of Russian underground music, maybe it would become an inspiration for his blog (http://www.levislev.com). Of course, the Russian music did not go without the Russian drink and dance 😀
It was a beautiful time we had with Lev and Deniz, a lot of laughing, joking, talking and a lot of Internet. And we are excited about our parents coming, feels like Christmas almost!