Istanbul - where the Summer is!

I boarded a very early flight on Thursday morning and flew to Istanbul - again, you might say :-)
My main reason was the Tarazade dance festival but I came earlier than the actual event so that I could have some time to myself before the workshops and shows started.

My first impression: heat! I had never been here in August and it was of course hotter than I was used to. On my tram ride into town it soon became obvious to my nose that other people found it a bit warm as well...

It only took me 45 minutes door-to-door from the airport to the hotel, an advantage of staying in Aksaray.
When I went to refresh myself a bit I found out after just a few minutes that I had to change my room - it was right opposite of a little mosque and the call to prayer was really loud.  No way I could get enough sleep like this!

But first I walked up to the Grand Basar to meet up with an old local friend whom I hadn't seen in ages. It was great to catch up with him over lunch (my first proper meal that day), a walk to Sultanahmet and dessert.
After he left from there I took a little stroll around the Blue Mosque area. This is the only picture I took, I already have so many from there, in all the different seasons!

My next goal were the glitter shops in the backstreets of the Egyptian Basar. I had a very short shopping list this time: rhinestone brooches for my new selfmade costume. They are a quick and easy way to add bling without hours of sewing - just pin them on!

The first shop I went to didn't have as much choice as in other years so I ended up going to the 7 stories glitter mall - you have to give yourself a time limit there after which you will leave the building or you will go completely mad with all the glitter and might never get out!
Not only glitter...
After visiting a few shops I found my brooches and also some great colorful earrings. So the expedition was worth it.

Display in a shop nearby: these crowns are all the rage right now!
Walking back to the Grand Basar... Actually I set a new record, I think I have never walked there so quickly without getting lost once!
Since my shopping needs had already been covered, I just paid a visit to the Ali Baba shop for a chat with Erkan, one of the salesmen there. More catching up :-)

As seen on my walk back to the hotel: it's the little details that tell you where you are. Like the ever present glasses of tea, here deposited on an antique stone.
Back at the hotel I moved my stuff to my new room with a view to the ugly backside of the hotel but therefore no street or mosque noises. Only the constant humming of the aircondition - but that's what earplugs are for!
I tried taking a nap but my brain wasn't ready to shut down - but at least my body got a rest.

Then I made myself pretty for the evening and got out to take a taxi for Taksim. There is a taxi stand near the hotel but when I gave my destination to the driver he told me straight away that it would cost 30 Lira. As he refused to use the taxameter (which they are supposed to do!) I walked away, caught a taxi on the street and was driven to Taksim Square for 12 Lira!
What irritates me about this is not really the money difference but the dishonesty of the first driver! 
Trying to rip off tourists is not nice.

I was very hungry by then and went to my favorite place in the world when it comes to tavuk sis - the tiny street restaurant close to Demirören. I don't think they recognized me as a returning customer but they sure treated me as such, even giving me a free starter and just being overall very friendly.
Of course I had gone to this area for another reason as well - tango! But since it wasn't that late and many shops were still open I did a little bit of shopping, just to stay in the habit. 

Typical sight: Street musicians at night
Another typical thing: Flower stall. Be sure to wear some flowers on your hair!

Point milonga was very nice as always and I had several good dancers.
Inbetween tandas I went out on the terrace to take some pictures of the view.

Looking into the restaurant at the dancers
I left at about 1 AM and this time my brain was very ready for sleep when I got to bed!