Turkey won me over. I originally saw Turkey as a good starting point because it was the southernmost point of Eastern Europe (That I haven’t seen). I ended up meeting some awesome people who helped with the film and generally made the experience that much greater. Istanbul itself is a relatively modern city with a western european vibe. Prices are a lot higher than they were a few years ago but you still feel like you are getting more than your money’s worth. As many know, it’s the only city in the world that is on two continents (Europe and Asia). The touristy side with the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia, Grand Bazaar, Cisterns, etc… takes several days to see and is worth it. The side of the water I stayed on, near Taksim square at Route 39 Hostel, was like any major city. It has a long walking road with shops and restaurants that turn into clubs and hookah bars at night.
The night scene. A lot of the bars have roof decks or outdoor seating so you can enjoy an ice cold Efes and watch the pretty turkish girls stroll on by. However, be warned; If you’re not with one of those pretty girls, the chances of you and your group of mates getting into a popular bar is very unlikely as they are almost always too full for a few more guys.
Last night I did have the pleasure of going to one of those trendy bars alongside two pretty girls from Denmark, however, the move in for a kiss was greeted with “the pull away” (ouch), as fighting with your boyfriend warrants a little misleading flirting but not disloyalty… still hurts.
A shout out to everyone at Route 39 hostel in Istanbul for helping kickoff the Backpackers Union and making it such a great time (especially Dean and Craig for help with filming!). I’m now off to Sofia, Bulgaria to get things under way and start building the momentum.