Istanbul - Back in the highlife!

Ever wondered why my blog was quiet recently? It's because this is mainly a travel blog and I haven't been traveling much in the last few months.. But NOW I finally packed my suitcase and hopped on a plane! The destination is no surprise: Istanbul :-)

I took off with my travel companion Katharina who had accompanied me last time as well. But before we could really leave, we were held up at the airport - apparently there were two passengers too many on the plane and it took them an hour to sort that problem out...

As soon as we arrived we hopped on a shuttle bus up to Taksim Square and then walked to the hotel.

We didn't have too much luggage (actually we both packed a small suitcase and put it into a bigger one - we intend to go shopping after all!) so it was ok to walk - except that our way led us through Istiklal Caddesi in a Saturday afternoon... This street is always full of people and pulling a suitcase behind you adds another level of difficulty...

We dropped our stuff at the hotel and went off again, straight to the first costume shop, Sim. I had special plans for a bra-belt set to be done, so I only looked at the costumes superficially. Katharina went through everything but didn't find what she was looking for. Instead the other customer suddenly asked me: "Are you MEISSOUN? I saw you dancing at the festival in Stuttgart 2 weeks ago and want to hire you for a workshop!" The bellydance world is a village...

The we went to Bella, one of our other favourite costume designers. Need I say that there were 4 German dancers (plus one husband) of which two had also been to the Stuttgart festival?
Plus the usual amount of cats of course. This is where Katharina found a very green, really original costume. She calls it "poison ivy". And yes, it was of the expensive kind...
But since she regretted not having bought another great costume last year, this time she HAD to have it! I left her to discuss fitting details and headed to Legend Costumes to get my own costume fix.

This time they had very few ready made costumes but I wanted something special anyway, another multi-color bra-belt set. While we talked about colors and shapes it started to rain heavily. And when I walked back to the hotel, suddenly there were men selling cheap umbrellas at every corner. Good business sense :-)

After a little time to relax we went to have dinner. (But I must say that I like the Iskender Kebap at Schmiede Wiedikon better than the one we got here...)

And we noticed again that Istanbul is flooded this weekend with Greeks! There are also groups at our hotel. It's because of a bank holiday.

Katharina had a back pain and lack of sleep so she went to hang out with a friend while I grabbed my tango shoes and went to the Baila Tango milonga. I met some dancers from last time and also danced with several others. I am back in tango heaven!

At about 2:00 I went back to the hotel which only took me 2 minutes. I think it's located at the very heart of the nightlife! And since all the bars and restaurants are open to the streets and many have loud live music itnall ends up in an incredible cacophony. Not even a thought of going to bed early! And I needed strong earplugs!

Here's a view from our hotel room, including a taxi jam - pump up the volume for the best effect!


Now it's Sunday morning - and because we are in Beyoglu, there are no muezzins waking us up. Instead I just heard a church bell...