New Year, New 'Hood, New Home

Well, we finally did it- we moved out of the school's compound three weekends ago to Cihangir, a charming little neighborhood that borders on Taksim, whose San Francisco sister would be Noe Valley. It's in the center of the city and a stone's throw away from several coffee shops, book stores, restaurants, bars, clubs, markets, vintage shops, brunch spots,  and historical sites. Everyone tells us it's the hang out of Turkish movie stars and artists, not that we're well versed enough in Turkish pop culture to do any celebrity stalking. We've been settling in over the last week, and already, we've sampled 2 of the 3 pizza places a block away. The huge advantage of the new place is that it's so easy to go out and that so many of our friends like to come out in this neck of the woods. You can feel the energy of the city in this 'hood, and I finally feel like I've moved to Istanbul.

Living Room
Jeremy, taking an early swig of champagne to celebrate!

Although throughout our first week in the new place, we were rushing back and for to work, leaving and coming back in darkness (I now have to get up at 6:15 to catch the school's service bus), this weekend gave us a new appreciation for our lil' pad. Yes, it's painted sea foam green and has a lingering smell that's like taking a deep whiff of the insides of a thrift store purse (Glade to the rescue!), but it's luminous and cozy.

On our first weekend in our new home, we hit up the most delicious little brunch spot, called Van Kahvalti Evi, just down the street from our house. We've been there before, and have a hard time refraining from ordering half the menu, since everything there is so tasty. We started with some homemade kaymak and organic honey, which we like to spread on the brioche bread they bring in a plentiful basket with the food. It is hard to exaggerate the pleasure and satisfaction- and I'm just going to come out and say it, pure ecstasy, that this combination of kaymak, honey, and brioche brings. It is truly heavenly. Aaaaaah. Yes... where was I? Right, ordering half the menu. We also had spinach gözleme, a bacon egg scramble (yup, this place serves pork), a Turkish breakfast platter, çay, turkish coffee, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. In short, we feasted.

Antique shop with cute dog sitting in the front
Art store near our new place. If you're looking for a portrait of Ataturk, this is the place to go.
The Galata Tower

After brunch, we took a stroll through the neighborhood's little streets, scoping out where the nearest markets were. One street I particularly love near the new apartment is filled with antique stores- furniture, jewelry, random knick knacks. We took it straight to Istiklal and headed for the Galata Tower. The Galata Tower is one of those monuments that I had been postponing seeing, mostly because the line to get in is always so long. Now that we live so close, it was an easy hop over. Surprisingly, there was also no line. Maybe this is finally the winter lull in the tourist season. We took the elevator and stairs to the top and circled around the top to take in the stunning 360 degrees view of Istanbul. Later that afternoon, I also checked out the Frida and Diego art exhibit at the Pera Museum and then went out for drinks with friends, which eventually turned into dinner and more drinks later on. 

This change in neighborhoods and apartments has been exciting and refreshing- a perfect start to the new year. I feel like I can start anew and getting a little distance from work has also been very welcome. Having your employer also be your negligent landlord doesn't make for good workplace morale. Now that it's behind me, I plan to take in more of the new and take on Istanbul's night life and everything else it has to offer by the horns. Did I mention that the new place has a pull-out couch?


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