Istanbul is loud, colorful, spicy and disorganized–truly the opposite of Geneva. It was exactly the breath of fresh air we needed after a few weeks spent navigating the Swiss apartment rental market.
The downside with having been so preoccupied with apartments is that I didn’t get a chance to research Istanbul and its history before arriving. And this city certainly has history. The upside of being unprepared is that I wasn’t acting as an amateur tour guide. I had to let it wash over me.
We stayed in the super hip Karaköy neighborhood at this boutique hotel. Karaköy is not on the side of town with the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar, but just four stops by metro to the ancient city. I don’t remember what article I’d read that suggested young travelers to stay in Karaköy (perhaps this one?), but I would highly recommend it. Chic restaurants and delicious-smelling food carts co-mingle, carefully curated boutiques are around every corner and the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is at the heart of it all.
I took in a couple of hours at the museum. It was a little respite from Istanbul’s thumping pace. That said, the museum is no library. The exhibits were some of the most avant-garde I’ve ever seen. From a pile of pink sand to floating books, sequined messages to neon lights… and how cute are these school children on a field trip? It was very hard for them not to touch the art!
I’ll post on the ancient side of town soon… for now, a few links on our Karaköy food favorites:
- We had a seafood feast here
- We had breakfast and lunch here (it was that good)
- We had the city’s best baklava here