A Travellerspoint blog

Beyoglu by the book

or, uptown nights

semi-overcast 48 °F

We had looked up a club for jazz on Istanbul eats. It was over the other side - the new side. So we hopped the tram to the end of the line at Kabatas and then jumped into the funicular and rode up to Taksim square. It was dark, but it was crowded.
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A sea of humanity cascaded along the street. We went downhill with it, looking for for Balo caddesi. It was a sidestreet alley lined with clubs, outdoor tables, and youth with cigarettes. But in Istanbul the young with cigarettes are non threatening and there is also a fir share of older, less hip, even staid persons mingling in the night. I have never felt a threatening moment since being here. Never seen a drunk, never seen a sneer or a cold hard look of unfriendliness. Never encountered any macho type behavior, nor seen any obnoxious groups of any kind. I am on another planet.
I digress. Getting back to the night, we sat and had a beer at an outdoor table and watched the streetlife and listened to a guitar and singer from a club next store in a lower level.
Then we strolled some more. Found the throwback alley of white table cloths, waiters in white shirts and ties. Long rows of tables. People eating mezes (tapas). We went on through that and were into the fish market. Which even at this later hour was still going strong. Each fishmonger also had his own restaurant nearby and spoke at length about his fishes and dishes.
Indeed, all of Istanbul is one big restaurant, shop, store, stand selling kebaps, durums, spices, fish, shirts, cheese, candies, pastries, and anything and everything. There is the fresh bread, right next to the soap.
But you cannot eat and drink it all, even when you exit one place having eaten your dinner, the fellow next store will be at you with his spiel, his menu, as if you had just come into that street.
It can be a bit annoying.

We made it to the end of the street, took the other funicular down and out.
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Walking across the galata bridge at night in the cool wind is a joy. There are fishermen still out here. The hope of a good fish is just a dream away. We went back along our hotel street waving at the same people. We belonged just a little bit to this place now.
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Posted by Ken L 22:49 Archived in Turkey

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