Kuzguncuk, Istanbul

“‘Life can’t be all that bad,’ I’d think from time to time. ‘Whatever happens, I can always take a long walk along the Bosphorus.'” Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories of the City.

The Turkish government extended the Bayram holiday this year. Normally, Bayram is only Wednesday or Thursday through Sunday. This year, all schools were required to be closed for the entire week. For many, this meant planning last minute holidays. For me, this meant continuing to rest in Istanbul after my surgery, which was on 17 September.

I went out as I felt able, but I spent a lot of time at home resting. Come about Wednesday, I felt just about normal. Come Thursday, I figured everything was closed and didn’t bother to go out. Big mistake. My boredom was killing me.

So, today, Friday, I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to explore somewhere new.

I was reading the Do’s and Don’ts of a Summer in Istanbul (TimeOut-Istanbul), and one point said to go to Kuzguncuk instead of Ortakoy. I’d been to Ortakoy, so it wasn’t difficult to twist my arm.

I took the ferry from Kabatas to Uskudar. It said online that a dolmus or minibus would take me to Kuzguncuk in about five minutes. I took one look at the traffic and, as usual, decided to walk instead [which I desperately needed].

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It shouldn’t have been that hard to find, but you know me… No sense of direction… I just kept walking and taking pictures… I wandered too far and sat down in too many parks, but after a limonata break, I pulled myself together.

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Kuzguncuk is full of beautiful, colorful cafes, as well as old Ottoman homes made of wood, some restored and some falling to pieces. The structures falling apart are always more interesting to me.

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National Geographic had a little walking tour, but it was all about the churches. Churches are beautiful, yes, and this neighborhood is very diverse. That said, I had no desire to see any of them. I strolled up a hill, turned around, and found my new happy place, where I admired the sunset.

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I can’t tell you how long I sat here.
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…Then this little guy made an appearance.

At this point, I wandered into a park again, enjoyed a Coke with Balik Ekmek (fish sandwich), and sat by the Bosphorus, admiring the view of European Istanbul from across the water.

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The fish guy was busy tonight!

Sitting at home recuperating from my surgery just made me feel depressed, like I was wasting away. I really needed this stroll today. Istanbul… My chaotic, enchanting, mystical Istanbul…

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Sometimes, sitting next to the Bosphorus can make you remember everything you love about Istanbul and forget everything you don’t.

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