Istanbul - Travel preparations despite obstacles...

When a fellow dance teacher approached me in late 2015 to organize and lead a shopping trip to Istanbul for her belly dance students I was very excited. On former trips I had occasionally played the tour guide for friends and fellow dancers, showing new places even to a dancer who had been living there for three years!
Also I have been maintaining an Istanbul shopping guide on my website for many years.
So this seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to not only share my knowledge and my passion for Istanbul but actually get paid for it for a change.

In early 2016 I created a program for 4 days of shopping, watching dance and dining out. Pretty soon we had all 10 spaces booked that I had planned for this group.

To be sure that all the shops would actually be there and ready for us (they sometimes move or close, I've seen it before!) I decided to go 5 days earlier than the group, so I could test walk all my routes.
It was also an opportunity to bring along my boyfriend who hadn't been in Istanbul since 2007. I wanted to show him all the coolest things I had discovered during my last trips, mostly unusual museums and great restaurants.

But then.... the terrorist attacks happened. People got scared. One by one the participants cancelled their trips until only 2 were left.
I decided to go through with the program anyway - after all my flight and expenses had already been paid for. And I simply couldn't imagine going through an entire year without a visit to my beloved Istanbul. Last time I had done that in 2008 when I went to Morocco instead, and I had missed it terribly.

For the first 5 non-dance related days I chose to get inspired on Instagram where I had already found some great new off-the-beaten-track attractions for my last trip. There are a lot of good sources on Instagram and it sure helps that the city is very photogenic.
So in my daily posts you will find the #istanbulbyinstagram tag whenever we get to one of those places.

I recently moved into a new apartment and I have a long shopping list of things I want to buy for my "hamam" themed bathroom and other corners.

No question I packed very light since I always buy tons of clothes and shoes in Istanbul, as everything is much cheaper than in Zürich! Just a half full carry-on suitcase will do... Filled up with some chocolate for my friends there of course.

I also brushed up my lousy Turkish and hope to impress the people around me with my new language skills.

So... Gidelim!