Istanbul part II, Istiklal Caddesi and Kasımpaşa

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After the first 2 days spent mainly in Sultanhamet, I start my day with the desire to explore Beyoğlu, the ancient Genoese district, and Kasımpaşa, very special due to the sponsor of its stadium …

A bench

I wake up in the morning with so much curiosity and even more desire to discover the treasures that the city has to offer me, for now I have only explored the ancient and most monumental part and I can’t wait to move to what has been the beating heart of the Empire. After a quick breakfast I go to a bench in front of the hotel which, since yesterday, has become one of my favorite corners of Istanbul.

Istanbul
My cigarette buddy

That bench has nothing special, it is like all the others and, if we want to be honest, the fact that it is next to a basket does not make it “better”. However, it is what is around that makes the difference, halfway between the more lively Çemberlitaş and the more popular part that contributes so much to keeping the cats that crowd the small square. There is nothing more relaxing than watching them play while smoking a cigarette. A false appetizer of what my day will be.

Keepers

Istanbul
Yeni Camii

I walk calmly towards Eminönü passing through the “Square of the Mosques”, even if yesterday’s emotion has passed, I cannot help but be enchanted by observing these immense and majestic buildings. Looking at them makes me think how, after all, we are really nothing more than keepers of this millenary land. It is enough to look at this clearing, a former hippodrome, which has an obelisk, a former cathedral and a mosque inside. Three cultures so different that, over the centuries, they have chosen Istanbul to leave their treasures.

To change the road, I go to a secondary road and I start in front of Sirkeci station, in front of me the Yeni Camii and the Galata bridge stand out. I am tempted to visit the mosque first but the work in progress makes me understand that it will be for the next trip, I start on the legendary bridge, a timeless source of inspiration.

A bridge between 2 worlds

It’s hard to describe what it’s like at that moment. Because it was crossing that bridge that the Mediterranean soul came out, absolutely at home in this city. Imagine climbing on a bridge in a city that connects 2 continents *, with more than 15 million inhabitants, and finding fishermen casting bait in the Bosphorus while the tea man makes his presence felt by dint of “Çay, çay …“. Great, I’m home.

Istanbul
A nap between 2 worlds

After an Indiana Jones-style pedestrian crossing, I finally set off for Istiklal Caddesi, the Turkish shopping street par excellence. A short but intense staircase and you are in Pera, the ancient Genoese district which has become, “de facto” the beginning of the shopping street. But I set myself the mission to observe one of the stadiums with the most curious history in Istanbul: the Recep Tayip Erdogan Stadium.

Kasımpaşa

You should know that, as in most countries, every stadium in Turkey has a sponsor: Galatasaray has Türk Telekom, Beşiktaş has Vodafone, Fenerbahçe has Ülker and Kasımpaşa has Erdogan. This is because the President as a young man had played in the club’s youth teams who wanted to pay homage to him through the name of his stadium. I couldn’t miss it. The hilltop location makes it spectacular at night games, when Istanbul glows with fire.

Istanbul
The Recep Tayip Erdogan Stadium

Istiklal Caddesi

Istanbul
An alley around Istiklal Caddesi

Please forgive me the readers if the general tone is surprise and amazement but I would never even dream of visiting a place as majestic as home and I might not be able to stop myself.

I must say, to be honest, that I crossed the street at the wrong time, I had promised myself to have lunch around the hotel, but I guarantee you that no Ramadan in summer is as tiring as crossing Istiklal Caddesi for lunch, immersed in the smell of still hot and spicy kebab. The delicious aroma, however, allows me to observe the path that guides you like a siren with its song.

I swear to you, I was not even tempted to put on headphones, it was the city that gave all the sound that was needed. One of the many characteristics that I immediately notice is the heterogeneity of the places: from the historic Galata tower to the Armani shop, from a small bar in a secondary street to a new generation kebab restaurant; everything is concentrated in a way that, however large, seems to contain the world.

Balık sandviç

Around 5 pm I go to the hotel, a kebab on the fly near the hotel and then a little rest, in the evening I want to spend the evening quietly in the park near the Sirkeci station, now my base on the Bosphorus. I try to give a variation to the evening with a fish sandwich taken from a kiosk under the Galata bridge.

I don’t have too many expectations but even those are not met. I thought I was taking a sandwich with Bosphorus fish just caught by fishermen, in fact it is, only that even more than fish there is onion and the breath that comes out of you is not exactly the best. I certainly can’t complain though, Istanbul has already conquered me and with passion we forgive everything, let alone a little onion.

Part 3 is coming, as soon as it is done I will leave the link here, in the meantime enjoy the first part: Istanbul, a trip to the hottest city in the world. All photos are original. * Someone pointed out to me that the Galata Bridge crosses the Golden Horn and therefore technically does not connect the 2 continents. A very small mistake that allowed me to experience one more adventure, albeit only in my head.

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Istanbul
Eminönü by night

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