Travel Poetry – 2

Travel poem number 2 about Istanbul.

I depart the shiny new tram

taste sage tea hundreds of years in the making

consumed near a Muslim graveyard,

where I espied silhouettes of crescent moons, stars

under pitch black skies.

As I dodge mutant dancing zebras,

vehicles screech to halt at the light.

Garish clothes, piled on the pavement, are sorted

by six grey men, women

the smiling trader haggles with all.

My linen shirt feels clammy, I sniff fresh orange juice.

Men rock on wooden chairs, debate

unending traffic above on the concrete flyover.

Scrawny cats wail, hiss over a discarded kebab

A welcoming dolmus awaits travellers to distant destinations.

 

A local’s guide to Istanbul’s new cool neighbourhood

In once sleepy Kadıköy-Moda, new nightlife and culture hotspots happily coexist with the district’s established restaurants and cafes

Top 10 affordable spas, bath houses and hammams in Europe

Plunge into a world of soothing saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms with our pick of hot spots with character but without the whopping spa resort prices

Istanbul’s top 10 historic shopping arcades

Architecture and shopping go hand in hand at these characterful arcades, which also offer a glimpse into the city’s rich past

Istanbul’s new creative hub retains Ottoman flavour – for now

The Fener-Balat quarter, once the little Greece of Istanbul, is now one of the city’s trendy design districts and regaining the international feel of its past

Snapshots: Istanbul’s impossibly colourful architecture

Over the past year, 32-year-old architect Yener Torun has been seeking out and photographing minimalist buildings around Istanbul. ‘Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of buildings like these in Turkey,’ he says. ‘So I spend most of my spare time finding them – it’s like a treasure hunt.’ He posts his pictures on Instagram, where he has attracted more than 36,000 followers. ‘Just think of the Istanbul photos you have seen before: grand mosques, old streets, seagulls over the Bosphorus. I show a completely different side. Even long-term residents can’t believe these pics were taken in the city they live in’