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A Reunion with Greek, German, and Albanian Friends in Istanbul as a Turk

Unforgettable Cross-Cultural Moments and Laughter on the Vibrant Streets of Istanbul

By NazPublished 19 days ago 3 min read
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Photo by the author Basilica Cistern

Growing up in a small place, speaking very late, having difficulty making friends in elementary school, I never thought that in my twenties, I would make my closest friends and get along so well with foreigners. Doing Erasmus in Lithuania led me to meet Konstantina, someone who became very valuable in my life. I met one of my closest friends there. Years later, I moved to Germany, and the thought of having a foreign boyfriend never crossed my mind. And there I met Tim.

And in this trip, I met Konstantina's boyfriend, Dimitris.

Photo by the author--Istanbul Marmara Sea and Tim, Konstantina,Dimitris

We decided to all go to Istanbul together. As a Turk, I wanted to host them well, but coming from Anatolia, I didn't know much about the city either. Moreover, we were from different cultures.

r cultures; she was a girl from Athens, Greece, whose family had met mine. Dimitris was Albanian, and I had never met an Albanian I could get along with before Erasmus. Tim, on the other hand, was completely different, a German.

Photo by author--street cat and Tim

Days later, Tim and I set off. It was a rainy day, and the traffic was heavy. We got soaked in the rain, went to the hotel, and met with Konstantina and Dimitris. It was the first time Dimitris and I met, and the first time Konstantina and Tim met.

This trip plan was new for everyone. It was Dimitris's first trip with his girlfriend, and the same for Tim and me. A moment loaded with a lot of meaning and excitement.

But that trip became one where I thanked the universe for having Tim, Konstantina, and Dimitris in my life.

Photo by the author-Doner

I think I made a very good plan. As you know, Istanbul is divided into two continents, Asia and Europe. Our hotel was in Kadıköy on the Asian side because the nightlife there was more vibrant.

The next day, we headed to Fatih. We visited landmarks like the Hagia Sophia, Süleymaniye Mosque, and the Basilica Cistern. Each place captivated us with its history and architecture.

Photo by the author- Hagia Sophia

For lunch, we enjoyed Turkish foods. Unfortunately, the Topkapı Palace was closed, but we explored local markets to feel the city's pulse.

Photo by the author-Basilica Cistern

Basilica Cistern was 600 Turkish liras for foreigners but for me only 80 Turkish Liras(3$).

The friendly street cats and dogs showed the city's warm side.

Photo by the author-Konstantina with street cats

Another heartfelt moment happened at Latife Café, named after my mother. This serendipitous discovery made me remember and miss my mother and immediately sent her this photo to say "Mom, I'll be with you next week!".

Photo by the author-Latife Cafe

We explored the Çırağan Palace and the Beşiktaş area. Visiting the Ortaköy Mosque and the colorful houses of Balat, we experienced Istanbul's cultural diversity and historical texture.

Photo by the author-Colorful houses Balat

Our journey in Istanbul tasting Turkish dishes such as İskender, rice pudding, and künefe, we were mesmerized by the vibrant streets.

We completed the evening savoring the local flavors. Here is a street market in Grand Bazaar.

Photo by the author--Grand Bazaar

The evening view of the mosque, whose official name is Sultan Ahmed Mosque but which tourists call Blue Mosque, is still one of my favorite photos on my phone.

Photo by the author--Blue Mosque

On our final day, Konstantina and Dimitris bid farewell to Istanbul with Turkish tea. The tea they drank over five days will remind them of a piece of Istanbul.

Photo by the author--Tea time

This trip demonstrated how different cultures can create a wonderful experience together. Istanbul's historical and cultural richness left each of us with unforgettable memories. As my friends and I left Istanbul, we took with us the valuable lessons and beautiful memories that the city had given us.

I believe, I introduced my country very well and it was an excellent trip.

One particularly touching moment was seeing the Turkish- German Book Store and Café, a beautiful blend of cultures with my boyfriend.

Photo by the author-Tim and I

In every cup of Turkish tea we shared, in every friendly encounter with a street cat, I found a piece of happiness, a note of harmony in our diverse symphony. This journey has etched itself into my soul, a reminder of the beauty that lies in exploring the world with open hearts and minds.

I love them. I love traveling. I love the happiness that different cultures find in each other. And most of all, I love the symphony of life that we create together, note by note, step by step, across the vibrant streets of Istanbul and beyond.

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About the Creator

Naz

She is alive and every day she realizes how much life is worth living.

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