We walked through Galata on our way to meet Josh and Leanne yesterday. It’s at the very end of Istiklal Street on the opposite end of Taksim Square. We’ve been through Taksim and Istiklal several times, but hadn’t made our way all the way down Galata until yesterday. It was calmer than Istiklal (the Myeongdong or Michigan Avenue of Turkey) and much more artistic and eclectic. I knew I had to return for a more comprehensive hang out than a quick walk through to meet our friends.
We started our afternoon off with a burger from a little Turkish joint that had pictures promising a better burger than we had seen in a long time. It wasn’t bad! I stopped often to take pictures of the street, of Andrew walking in the middle of it, posters collaged on walls, a random Charlie Chaplin work of art hanging outside what appeared to be a deserted building. Music stores dotted the sides of the street. Andrew declared he just might want a ukulele after a recent Ted Talk he watched. I coerced him into trying one out from a man’s shop overflowing with the most random assortment of… stuff.
The old medieval tower, is what the neighborhood is named after: Galata Tower. It’s not so big (only nine stories) and we hear it provides an excellent view from above over Istanbul. I preferred people watching below and ducking in and out of the boutiques that surrounded the tower.
here were some pretty good murals on different buildings around Galata as well, that made me smile.
I looked for the perfect carpetbag, and decided to get a close to perfect carpet purse for the time being instead. I wandered down an alley and into the most glorious vintage store ever.
I debated over purchasing a sixties dress while we walked up around Galata some more. We ran into the couple, who stayed at our guesthouse in Selcuk not once, but three times as we walked around the neighborhood. The woman seemed utterly perplexed after asking what we had been doing. I told her we were just walking around, enjoying the street art. It was like she had never heard of street art, much less wandering around to do just that, wander around.
We walked back across the bridge to a carpet shop I had read about online hoping the store, Arsah Carpets carried perfect carpetbags. It didn’t, well, not what I was looking for. But the owner was elated to hear that we had stayed at the guesthouse he had pamphlets sitting on his front counter for. Huseyin was everything the article described him to be, which was a lot of fun! And, as it turned out, he was friends with the guesthouse owner and invited us downstairs to show us some of his carpets. It was fun looking at all of the different carpets, old grain bags, and old saddlebags. It was also fun that Huseyin seemed to genuinely love carpets and his job of finding carpets around Turkey and selling them to new owners. He wasn’t pushy. He wasn’t aggressive. He just let me see what he had and showed us all kinds of carpets (some super old and super expensive) just to show us.
I loved this back room Huseyin had going on- it looked like it was just a mirror on the wall, but it was actually a little doorway into another room. He said he designed it to look that way. Good job, sir. I told him I would be back. Maybe for a carpet. Maybe for a saddlebag to transform into a tote bag. Maybe for both. But I should probably start setting money aside for where we are going to live when this trip is over, instead of more things to put inside the place we’re going to live. I’ll be back though, that’s for sure!
Late to meet up with Josh, Leanne, and Margarita for another evening of nargela, we left to cut across the backstreets of Sultenamet to the old madrassa for our last night in Istanbul.