Istanbul Street Life: bir çay lutfan and the wifi password please

From my home in Istanbul it is a 45 minutes walk to Taksim Square. From there I look for a nice tea place, drink some tea: I learned my first and only Turkish words: “bir çay lutfan” One tea please, after that effort I smile if I could use the wifi. I walk around a little more and take the ferry to Kadikoy. Here some snap shots from street life in Istanbul.

The streets of Istanbul start out broad and filled with cars and have modern apartment buildings on each side. Closer to the Bosposrus the streets gradually get narrower and the buildings get older and more charismatic.

One of the most characteristic street views is that of men sitting on plastic chairs playing backgammon or checkers and drinking cay. You can see young guys walking through the narrow alleys with a big aluminum plate stuffed with cay glasses to serve the men.


Near Taksim Square is an old worn out neighborhood. It used to be just for rich people, but they fled decay and the poor moved into the abandoned houses. It gives an authentic street life atmosphere, which makes you realize you’re in a border city from the West to the East.  It might be comparable with the Jordaan in Amstrdam sixty years ago. Once a poor house, now a Yuppie Gettho. Beyoglu is not really considered a tourist attraction. At least not by the aggressive inhabitant who forces me to put away my camera.



After the Gezi protests, a group of filthy young terrorists initiated a non-violent attack. They painted all the grey steps of the old city in bright colors. The government painted it back to its original color grey. The young vandals  repainted it and the government painted it grey again. This went on for quite a while, but they ran out of grey or the painter hired by the government got sick, anyway, finally they gave up and so you can see colorful staircases where young people make out.


Another fun fact: Street cats live like kings in Istanbul. On every corner you can find  cat bowls with food and water. They are full of energy and look healthy. They are treated much better than street dogs or the many poor Syrian refugees.

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