First Day in Istanbul: Selam
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.
**Chillout is now closed, but you can find a good list of hostels in Istanbul/2019 via the Broke Backpacker.
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.
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.
And there has been. Grin.