O Istanbul, where art thou?

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“Shisha?” My eyes rest on a group of young Turks, as they breath in, breath out and disappear in a dense cloud of smoke. “Shisha?”, the waiter asks again emphatically. And yes, why not?

The Çay tastes good, especially as good as ever. Strawberry, mango, cherry, pineapple – about twenty varieties come on offer in this tea garden right behind the Blue Mosque. Beer is the only thing they can no longer provide. Finally, alcohol now is officially prohibited for sale within 100 meters around houses of worship. And Turks are really straight.

In the old days, everything was somehow different. In the old days, when the tea was still hot, the nights lukewarm and the Efes still chilled. And wasn’t it already more crowded at this time of the evening?

Further back, a Turkish band begins to play and suddenly there is some sort of action. I sip my tea, listen to the music and lose myself for a moment in the warm air of the Bosphorus, which is filled with the smell of the Çay, the smoke of water pipes and the aroma of crispy fried squid. I would so like to bottle some of these odors. For later.

Suddenly a second voice raises and mixes with the sound of music: the muezzin calls the faithful to evening prayers, very loudly and firmly. Involuntarily my gaze goes over to the mosque and up to the minaret. The crescent moon towers above it all, almost unreal. Silently, it throws the entire scene into an enchanted, silvery light – yeah, there we go… Hello Istanbul!

Have you been to Istanbul? What anekdotiques and tips do have from there? Leave a comment!

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