This story is not about how I stayed, in three different houses of local people during 8 days without paying (I used the social network Hospitality Club, there was still no Airbnb).
This story is not about how in the third house that I stayed, I did not get to know the owner. He was traveling but he left me the keys to his house.
This story is not about how my last night in Istanbul, I ended up dancing salsa in the middle of a class in front of 50 people, just 3 hours before leaving to the airport.
This story is not about how while taking pictures at the entrance of a mosque, a woman in her burka winked at me (I had a feeling of surprise, laughter, and fright).
This story is not about me eating the most incredible durum made with a filling of 21 spices and mint. (Spectacular and really spicy).
Nor this story is about how Istanbul really is the city that never sleeps (2 am, barbershops working and exterior markets full working).
This story is not about how I found in the spice bazaar, a cheese very similar to my favorite cheese from my country (Honduras). A cheese that I haven’t found anywhere else: The “quesillo“.
This story is not about how I made friends with every cat I met on the street. Istanbul is cat lover paradise.
This story is not about how a guy waved at my camera while I was taking pictures of the crowd. Apparently, people here, seem to like winking and waving to my camera.
This story is not about me enjoying for the first time balcan music in a rooftop with a beautiful view of Istambul. All of this thanks to one of my host. The perks of exploring a city with local people 😉
This story is neither about me watching in the street a celebration of a Turkish wedding.
And this story is neither about how I was delighted with Turkish pastry, which is equal or better than French pastry. French people: don’t kill me for saying this.
All of the above is material for another story. Or maybe for 20 different stories.
This story is really about how after 7 days, once visited every monument and touristic place, I decided to discover some neighborhood of Istanbul. Far from the city, away from tourism. To see other realities.
I started walking away from the markets in search of that neighborhood. Suddenly I was being alone in the street. I started to see buildings made of wood. Some houses almost falling, others abandoned. I had no idea where I was (but I knew the way to come back, that’s why I usually dare to do this kind of things).
You could see the clothes hanging outside the houses, as you usually see in neighborhoods in many cities. Finally, I started to see people again: I run into 3 children and some girls who nicely approached me. I shoot pictures of them, we laugh. They laugh when they see themselves on camera.
We could not communicate in any language, except in the language of sympathy and photography. We needed no more than that.
I say goodbye to the children and begin to get back to the house and start packing my luggage. Meanwhile, I was talking to myself: ”That’s it, I’ve seen what I wanted to see. With this and the rest of the past week, I’ve lived what I wanted to live on this trip”.
At that moment, I didn’t know that very night I would be dancing salsa (one of my passions) in front of 50 people right before taking my plane back to Spain. So then, finally, my trip to Istanbul would be complete. That would be one of the cherries on top of my cake.