Last month I was in Liverpool, now it’s Istanbul. Hey, it rhymes!
Alright, this was an interesting one.
I was a bit concerned as there was a referendum that day, and the political situation between Turkey and Germany was a bit complicated.
I’ve never been to Turkey and had no idea what to expect.
Nonetheless, our local distributor invited us to join them for an event, so a colleague and I went to Istanbul.
I felt intimidated just after leaving the airport as there were actual tanks parked in front of the building and many militaries everywhere.
From Russia with Love
I’ve chosen the Hilton, which is somewhat “famous” as you could see the building for a few seconds in the background in the James Bond “From Russia with Love” movie. My room, unfortunately, didn’t face the Bosporus, but I think the view is still magnificent:
My colleague Ramazan took me to an excellent place for dinner. We ordered two sharing platters; here’s one of them:
Just afterward, he told me that the amount of meat we ate is what a family would eat within a week, as it’s pretty expensive for the locals. Sad, isn’t it?
I found it interesting that later, back in my hotel room, I turned on CNN, and they reported about riots and fires inside the city due to the referendum. That was utterly exaggerated. While you could feel some tension in the city center, everything was fine.
Yes, they do speak English.
Anyway, the next day I was speaking in front of 50-ish resellers, and just as I started, Ramazan told me they don’t speak English, so he had to translate everything I said. Now the fun part: As we finished, we went for lunch with the whole group, and suddenly folks remembered that they speak English and started conversations with me!
For dinner, our distributor invited the two of us to another restaurant. They served proper Turkish pizza:
The next day I had a couple of hours before my return flight, so I decided to visit the Hagia Sophia. It’s a beautiful mosque built 1500 years ago.
I wish I had had more time, but I’m pretty sure there will be other opportunities to revisit Istanbul.
In my mind, I summarise the tip as “amazing food, terrible traffic,” and I guess everyone who has been there agreed with me.
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