Today an interview with Tugba Abadan, Spotter for our Istanbul cityblog. We had the pleasure of meeting Tugba in Istanbul two months ago!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I studied Business Administration at university and now I work at a bank in Istanbul. I know it sounds boring, but just on paper? I do digital marketing communications and I like it. This is my first job after graduating college and led me to move Istanbul.
I’ve been living in Istanbul for 4 years but it felt like home long before that. I love going out, fine food, partying, reading and writing but my passion is travelling. I try not to miss any opportunity to see a new place anywhere. When I travel instead of exploring the obvious must-see’s I always try to see a place mostly locals go and I try to be a local in my all touristic trips. It is easy when you know someone at your destination but when you don’t it is really difficult to find the local tastes.
Actually I should have said “it was difficult.. “ because about 2 years ago I found out about Spotted by Locals and loved the idea and all the city tips in there. There was no Istanbul section back then, but now I’m one of the Istanbul spotters and loving it.
How do yo like being a Spotter?
I really enjoy being a Spotter. There are many places I enjoy in this city and I like sharing them with other people. There are a lot of touristic places here. They are also great but for people who would like to have more cultural experience and see Istanbul people’s lifestyles a little guidance might be needed. I appreciate when locals of other cities guide me about local spots in their city and I feel that I return the favor by being an Istanbul Spotter.
I have many friends who live abroad and they always say that they share my page on SpottedbyLocals.com with their friends who visit Istanbul.
I receive random thank you notes from these people time to time whom I do not know which makes me really happy.
It may sound extremely subjective but “there is no place like Istanbul”. I’ve been to “most beautiful cities” in Europe, many cities in USA, and I did some travelling in the Middle East. There are perfectly organized, very clean, really beautiful cities in the world. Istanbul is neither of them. It is really not very well organized, not truly beautiful nor clean in every corner but it is “different”.
Istanbul takes your time during the traffic on the bridges but gives you a great Bosphorus views in return. It connects not just in geographically the two continents but Istanbul also has a cultural mix. It is possible to find anything you are looking for here. All kind of restaurants, night clubs, concerts, exhibitions, festivals. It is impossible to get bored in Istanbul because it has something to offer for every taste.
My must-do in Istanbul is driving/walking by Bosphorus between Ortakoy and Rumelihisari during the day, then going to Nisantasi area for shopping or going to Sultanahmet area for the historical sightseeing.
For dinner time seafood in Istanbul is very famous so it should be tried by one of the restaurants in Arnavutkoy or in Bebek. For night if someone is looking for a more laid back evening should go to Asmalimescit, but if looking for something glamorous should be checking the clubs in Ortakoy.
I like old town area-Sultanahmet, Topkapi areas- for during the day sightseeing but I do not recommend to stay there. Because it is further from the “real Istanbul”. Most tourists prefer to stay in those areas but it is not “local”.
What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Istanbul at this moment?
The European side is always more popular to live and it is more expensive. It depends on where that person’s work is at to find the right neighborhood because the traffic can be a really hassle. But there are neighborhoods that will not get old to be popular such as Etiler, Ulus, Levent, Bebek and Nisantasi areas.
For more bohemian style the Cihangir area is also popular. The reason of the popularity of this areas are their proximity to business districts. Those areas are very lively with nice restaurants, bars and malls. Foreign people who live in Istanbul also prefer these areas to live.
Can you describe a perfect day in your city?
In spring or summer time a perfect day in my city would start having a late breakfast in Mangerie in Bebek, I love its terrace. Then I’d stop by Midnight Express right next to Mangerie’s building to check out what they have in terms of outfit and little accesorries.
I would stop by Bebek Kahve to have a Turkish coffee there and read newspapers/magazines. In hot summer days it is always a little bit breezy there which is nice.
After that I’d go to Galata area to check out the boutiques of designers such as La Mariqiuta, Simay Bulbul. I’d wander around Asmalimescit area and would have my dinner at Refik Restaurant if I’d like to eat more traditional food or if I’d like to have something more international I’d eat at House Café Tunel.
After that I’d go to Nuteras for drinks, which has a very nice view. I could also go to Anjelique in Ortakoy instead for drinks if it is a weekday.
Check out all Tugba Abadan’s articles and the other interviews with our Spotters.