Tonight, we were split into groups and had to find our own way to a very popular and famous street in Istanbul called İstiklal Caddesi in Taksim Square. This street is a popular shopping destination and lined with cobblestone streets, musicians, street vendors, and all sorts of food. It is extremely vibrant, with people from all nationalities and walks of life. You hear mainly Turkish, but also French, English, some German, and some Italian. I don’t mean to make it sound too exotic, but there really is a magic in the streets of Taksim, full of variety and vivacity.
Before dinner I had my first Turkish coffee (pictures below). Turkish coffee (Türk Kahvesi) is famously the strongest coffee in the world. So strong, in fact, that when you reach the bottom of the glass, there is a centimeter of coffee sludge left over. Another consequence, I am finding, is being wired for hours. We also saw Galata Tower, a 14th century Ottoman structure which looms over Taksim Square. Here is a brief video of a stroll down İstiklal Caddesi:
And some more pictures from the evening:
Well, those are the pictures from my evening. Saturday we go to Sultanahmet, the historic heart of Istanbul and the location of the Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, to name a few.