My two and a half days in this city were obviously not enough to reach its heart, but gave me some hints of why this place is becoming Europe’s favourite. Despite the large numbers of tourists in the main spots, Istanbul is a real, authentic place and its character has not been too affected by the heterogeneous globalization. Its citizens are wildly Mediterranean and truly businessmen. Bargaining is the way forward both for locals and foreigners. You can somehow tell that dealing has been in their genes for centuries.
My favorite places in such a short stay summarize these values:
Galata bridge on a Sunday evening enjoying from a surprising lively fish market with top quality fresh products.
The bit of rocks on the coast going from Sultanahmet to the bridge mentioned above is where locals enjoy from colourful picnics, fishing and an occasional bath on the Marmara sea. Cities with sea and a mild weather have, undoubtedly, a special charm.
The local bazaars, located around the enormous Grand Bazaar, are quite an experience regarding sounds and smells.
Hammams. Despite going one of the most touristy and paying an overprize toll for a bath and massage, there is something quite impressive when you enter the main room to see women laying down on a big marble stone lit by the star-shaped holes on the ceiling. The masseurs are pretty rough too, no nonsense allowed!
And of course, their people. Hospitable as no other nation, their warmth and cheekiness are the best examples of a country used to welcome foreigners for centuries.
As homage of the city and its people, here is my photojourney during my stay: 48 hours in Istanbul.