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Istanbul is an incredibly photogenic city. At every corner, there seems to be an interesting scene, fascinating people or beautiful architecture just waiting to be photographed. The mosques, as loud as they are early in the morning when we unbelievers are trying to sleep, are incredibly impressive. And then there are the colours, the vibrance and the chaos – all of it made me take way too many photos. So many in fact, that I could never hope to come up with enough written words to actually show them to you in the context of a proper article. So here are just some photos of the week from Istanbul:
After a few days in Istanbul, Brendan and I felt the need to get away from the very touristy Sultanahmet district and decided to cross over to Asia for a day. Getting there is easy – we just took the ferry from Eminönü to Kadiköy, a short ride that only costs 3 Turkish Lira (about $1.50). Kadiköy is a fairly relaxed neighbourhood and mainly inhabited by locals, some of them really interesting characters. One guy even rode up in his scooter, with his dog clinging to his shoulders and wearing sunglasses. We spent the day walking on the waterfront and eating the dish Kadiköy is famous for: Turkish pizza.
And of course I went out and did some evening photography as well. With all the mosques lit up beautifully and the crowds of people disappearing, it is incredibly tempting to press the shutter button constantly. While waiting for the sky to turn the perfect colour, I started chatting to a young local guy named Amir in the courtyard of the Blue Mosque. Amir’s family has a carpet shop nearby and he was sent there to bring in customers. Since I told him upfront that I was working, wasn’t interested in carpets at all and there weren’t many tourists around to begin with, he happily indulged me in the tactics he uses to lure the visitors to his family’s shop.
“It’s very easy”, Amir says. What usually seems to work for him, is chatting up visitors in front of the impressive building and offering to show them around for a while. All for free and from the goodness of his heart of course. Afterwards, the happy tourists feel somewhat indebted to the friendly guy and get sneakily directed to the carpet shop to do some shopping. I was suspecting something along those lines and I asked him who his best customers are. “Americans and Russians”, he replies, “they have big wallets.”
And the rest of the photos: