Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born and have always lived in Istanbul, therefor I am blessed to have spent the last 33 years of my life in one of the most beautiful and inspiring cities in the world. I graduated from a French high school and studied Public Relations and Advertising at University. While at University I had several part-time jobs mostly involving lots of event organizations and I joined in in the production of a documentary film. After I graduated I worked in the field of marketing for several companies including Red Bull. For the last 5 years I have been running my own PR company named PR Department with my best friend.
I am a true nature lover, traveler and enthusiast for discovering new places. I am an amateur photographer, mostly enjoying nature and travel photography. As I am very much interested in design and decoration I have a blog called ‘decotrends’ and I also write for one of the most popular decoration magazines of Turkey. Traveling around the world, being inspired by the new cities I see, taking thousands of pictures during my vacations and discovering new places in Istanbul are definitely what I love to do most.
How do you like being a Spotter?
I really enjoy being a Spotter and I definitely want to make more time to write about new places I discover. Especially when someone e-mails me to ask for tips about Istanbul or leaves a comment saying that they enjoyed the spot I recommended I feel very happy. I love foreigners and being able to giving them some guidance in my hometown is priceless for me :-). I first heard about Spotted by Locals from a friend’s Facebook page and applied immediately.
Why Istanbul? What is a ‘must’ when visiting it and what definitely isn’t?
Because Istanbul is truly an amazing city from every aspect possible (expect the traffic :-)). The culture, history, social life, the weather and of course the indescribably beautiful Bosporus makes our city unique in so many ways. What you should not do is stay at a hotel in Sultanhamet and simply only going to all the touristic places, because there is so much to do and live in this city.
Of course a must is spending a day in the old city and visiting all the historical places like Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. But anyone and any guide in the world would recommend you see these :-). So after spending a fully touristic day I would strongly advise you take a ferry and discover the marvels of the Bosporus. Galata, Karakoy and Asmali Mescit are also a must do and see!
Which prejudices about Istanbul are true? Which ones are not?
Prejudices about Istanbul’s traffic are an unfortunate true one! But there are many and much more pleasant ways to discover the city than by car. Istanbul is a very modern and welcoming city and you should be prepared to gain a few pounds.
What do you know about Istanbul that a tourist wouldn’t know?
Istanpoli (in Greek) means coming to the city.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in at this moment?
Galata. Because it’s a historical neighborhood which is tastefully modernized and it’s very near the heart of Istanbul, which is Taksim. You can either be a tourist or a local in Galata depending on your mood :-). You can wine and dine, discover the narrow streets, shop at the small boutiques, climb to the top of Galata Tower and gaze at the wonderful panoramic city view.
What does a perfect day in Istanbul look like for you?
Starting my day by taking a ferry to the European side (as I live in Asia) I would go to Kale Cafe at Rumeli Hisarı for breakfast. Then I would take a walk by the Bosporus till Bebek where I would sit down by the sea to enjoy some Turkish coffee at Bebek kahvesi. I would then go to Karakoy for an art walk and maybe visit Istanbul Modern, the famous modern art museum of Istanbul. For lunch I would choose Karakoy Ops.
If it’s a Friday night I would go to Taksim square and walk down towards Tunel. I would go to Şişhane (near Tunel) to grab a bite at either Miss pizza şişhane, Leblon, Asmali Cavit or Safi meyhane, get some drinks at Bailo , move on to Novo for good music. When that gets too crowded have a peek at NuPera .