When I finally started doing things, and seeing things (accidentally on purpose), these were the things that suck out
Second Home Hostel: If you go to Istanbul, I would highly recommend staying at this place. Memo and Can (pronounced John) are awesome and they basically help everyone in the hostel meet each other/make friends/have fun. They also help you out, and tell you all the good places to see. Finally, it’s ridiculously close to everything good (as well as cheap food). But most importantly, who wouldn’t stay at a place with a YouTube videos like this?
Istanbul Nightlife: Seriously, people are in the streets until 4 or 5am, it is insane. I thought Can was exaggerating when he said there are a bunch of people by Galata Tower just “sitting around being hippies”, but he was actually not lying.
See? Not lying.
Also, I’m pretty sure a drum circle started at some point in the night. I was just jealous because I didn’t know any of the Turkish songs they were singing.
The Bascilica Sistern: This was cool because I am a super nerd and I thought it was incredible that this place held 80,000 cubic meters of water and they spent tons of time making that thing that collects water look so ornate. I mean, I’m thinking about India or the US today, and we would NEVER spend this much time on our water system. But really though, it’s super important. And it made me happy that the ancients of Istanbul realized this.
Random Cool Looking Buildings/Period Furniture: I was obsessed with this one historic building that was restored and made into a hotel/restaurant 22 years ago. It was built around the 1920’s.
How do these colors NOT make people happy? (Colors may or may not be historically accurate…)
I kid you not, this place had over 4,000 lamps. Hanging EVERYWHERE
Fortune Telling Rabbits: No really, they exist! I thought he was selling rabbits, (so of course I wanted one) and then I tried to purchase one, but he made his rabbit pick a piece of paper out of his box which, low and behold, held my fortune. Apparently my lover (that I have been losing sleep over) loves me back. The only thing I have been dreaming about is Dolma so that is comforting that it loves me back.
The rabbits have sharp claws, FYI. Probably so people don’t try and steal them. Because I totally would try to. They are adorable.
Cemberlitas Hamami: My friend told me about her favorite Turkish bath, and she was right-it was really awesome. It was probably one of the most liberating experiences to date (which really doesn’t say much about my life I would have to say). But you should look into it- pretty fantastic. Fun fact: This Turkish bath was started by an emperor’s wife way back (around AD 900 if I remember correctly) to bring in a second revenue stream to the empire so that she could build the charity Mosque she dreamed of (i.e. a woman entrepreneur built this to make some cash money!) I’m down.