At the heart of modern Istanbul is Taksim Square. Surrounded by foreign embassies, hotels wheeling stacks of Louis Vuitton luggage through its gilded doors, and the Oxford Street of Turkey it is one of the flashy parts of the city. Yet, despite this, the flower-sellers, street buskers playing fiddle and flute and traditional Turkish kebab restaurants keep this part of the city just as down to earth and charming as the rest.
Having seen Taksim Square in full bloom you can walk through the traditional fish market to get to Istiklai (the main shopping street). Beautiful buildings sit back from the shopping street whilst shops with floor to ceiling books tempt the eye.
I was hoping that at this point I would be able to share photos of my first proper Turkish kebab but thanks to a power cut we ate in the dark with nothing but a flicker of candlelight and the occasional flash of the waiters’ iphone torches so pictures are somewhat non-existent. But let’s just say this…it was delicious and eating in the pitch black with just the music from the street drifting through the window is a happy memory and one I wouldn’t trade. So if you are on Istiklai then skip the temptation of Shake Shack and go rustic! And if you’re lucky you’ll get a black out too.