Travel blog

First Day Introductions: Selam

By on October 14, 2012

Our number one focus of our first day discovering Istanbul was to find a permanent parking space without having to pay.

We went back to Chillout Cengo (the hostel offering us free: internet, showers and toilets) to see what we could find out.

We met a lot of cool people (Kamila at reception, a fellow artist) and lo and behold: of course Armando knows someone. Nina, a Bulgarian he knew from Sofia, was working there.

She took us under her wing and led Armando to a nearby place, in a good semi-quiet neighborhood. Within a few hours, our home base was up and running. Which meant we could now start absorbing the city. If we dared. Throngs of people darting, carting goods, swarming in every direction.

 

Walking down a simple side street is an exercise in claustrophobia management. It’s also a good challenge for your reflexes, all of the time, everywhere. Overwhelming and exhausting, yet exhilarating.

Our first night, we decided to go down to the seaside.

Armando was thinking of trying his hand at fishing (we have two poles) and I just wanted to be near water and less people, if at all possible.

We didn’t fish, but watched the night fisherman casting off from the bridge leading to the spice market, and then took a random stroll through the area.

An attempt at acclimating, though I doubt even after living here ten years you’d feel confident navigating Istanbul in its entirety. Words that come to mind from that first foray: alien. Magical. Delicate. Unsavory. The unknown.

We’re staying about 10 minutes from the hostel one direction, with the main pedestrian strip teeming with crowds, and 10 minutes another way to the sea and relative calm.

We still had a few kinks to iron out, including Armando’s art, my internet and a stable toilet (dont’ get me started…).
A happy balance, more idyllic than we’d imagined before our arrival. Of course, because it’s us, there was bound to be craziness.

And there has been. Grin.

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1 Comment
  1. Reply

    Griz

    October 14, 2012

    Nice:)

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