A Quick Guide To Istanbul

hagia sophia aya sofya sultanahmet ultimate hipster guide to Istanbul flat Istanbul wohnung where to stay accommodation Turkey Türkei Reise trip Städtetrip Altbau Beyoglu Airbnb historic clean hipster architectureFor one of my friends I assembled a quick list of spots that I like in Istanbul. It is of course not comprehensive but stay tuned for more posts with a little deeper background information.

Some sites will not be an option if it’s cold or rainy. So better go in the warm months.

Getting there

The city has two big airports. One in the west and one in the east. Both are convenient. Of course from Atatürk Airport on the European side you will get into the city in a very much shorter amount of time than from Sabiha Gökcen what usually lasts an hour but can take forever if there’s traffic. Now the best way to do so is with the shuttle bus Havataș called after the operating company. The busses wait right in front of the airport exits and are timed well. Board the busses head to Taksim square from where you will get easily to anywhere else. Don’t waste on taxi or private transfer unless you arrive on the hours at night where there’s no bus ( around 1 to 4 am).

Getting around

Obtain yourself an Istanbul Kart right on your first day. Look out for the sign. The card itself costs a few TL, can be recharged at every station and you need only one card even if you’re more people. It’s not only valid for subway or busses but also any other public transport like the ferries.

Where to stay

This is where we stayed last time. Right next to the building you’ll find a really amazing bakery with wonderful smelling bread, a butcher and a Turkish super where you can get good produce. The feel of the quarter is that of an old movie. If you choose another place but in the same area just be careful not to book anything too close to Taksim square and read reviews beforehand. A review by me of the specific flat we rented is also found under the link above. I loved the big, airy rooms and its historic flair. The all white interior spoke very much to me. On the site its stated that it’s a place for 4 but you can easily fit up to six in.

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Top choices for sightseeing: Hagia SophiaBasilica CisternTopkapi PalaceHippodrome (don’t miss out strolling around the back alleys. Here from the Mehmed Pasha mosque through beautiful crumbling wood houses you can reach the leather vendors quarter), Cemberlitas and the Grand Bazaar. Honorary mention: drink a tea under the arches of the old aqueduct like a local.

Food: Balik Ekmek at the waterside of Eminönu (the term means fish ‘n bread though the days of locally sourced fish at this spot are long gone).



Sightseeing: Galata Tower

Coffee: Latife

Shopping: Hammam towels and scarfs at Yakto Ipek

Istiklal road

Shopping: all major high street brands

Food and refreshment: Shake Shack (fast food); The House Café; Kumpir; tea at Hazzo Pulo Pasaji.

Art: Misir Apartment

Drinks and Cocktails: 360° on the rooftop of Misir Apartment; Orient Bar Pera Palas, Lucca Style.

Sightseeing: Various embassy gates, Galatasaray, Church of St. Anthony

Cihangir + Cukurcuma

Art: Museum of Innocence

Shopping: lots of antique shops, second hand and Indie brands for clothing and interior

Coffee: Brew Lab, Müz, Meinl

Breakfast: Van Kahvaltasi (order Menemen with Sucuk, ask the waiter to let it cook through if you get easily ill on vacations though)

Lunch: Cukurcuma 99

Dinner & Drinks: Mellow; Cezahir

Wine: Solera Winery


Breakfast, lunch, dinner & coffee: Everything on Kılıç Ali Paşa Mescidi Sokak street (Baltazar for yummy and reasonable priced steaks); watch out for the Souq Karaköy food markets and bazars.

Dinner: Karaköy Lokantasi

Art + Sightseeing: Istanbul Modern; look out for the ottoman watchtower in the museum’s entry area

Nisantasi + Bebek

Shopping: Midnight Express Istanbul Concept Store in Bebek

Sightseeing: Rumeli Hisari

Coffee: Petra Topagaci (Nisantasi); Sold Abbasaga in Besiktas

Lunch: Soup and noodle dishes at Kaptasoupasta

Cocktails + Food: Moro Nisantasi

Party: Club Reyna (very posh though)


Sightseeing: Ortaköy mosque.

Popular place to hang around in the evening. Eat Kumpir and waffles there. Shop a little silver jewelry which is made in the workshops there.


Take a ferry to get there, for example from Eminönu.

Sightseeing: Haydarpasha Terminal

Coffee: Walter’s Coffee Roastery (very experimental and a must if you’re a fan of Breaking Bad)

Hangout: Moda Park

Food: Ziya Sofrasi

Prince Islands

Also to be reached with the ferries. Take a nice old one where they serve tea and have wooden benches from Kabatas. Plan at least half a day to a day if you choose the most visit worthy island Büyükada and prepare for the stench of horse excrements.

Avoid the carriages and take the path to right. You will have a hike almost for your own  with less smell but many cats accompanying. In the forest at the middle there is an awesomely spooky ruin of an Greek orphanage and at the end of the path the church of Aya Yorgi awaits you on top of a hill.

Food: Eat fresh fish and seafood at one of the seashore restaurants. They’re a little cheaper further away from the ferry landing.


Karl Schenker – Master Of Beauty At Ludwig Museum

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Karl Schenker was a very much acclaimed master of photography and illustration especially during 20s Germany who later lost his impact and died 1954 in London without much notice from society.

I often wonder how it must be to rise that high and then vanish into oblivion. We see this all the time with film stars for example. But in Karl Schenker’s case it touches me even more. We see a man with true skills, magician like, he achieves unimaginable artistry and because of changing tastes and technology demand for him declines up into nothing.

Karl Schenker photography vintage fashion editorial 20s 30s roaring twenties Germany Fotografie golden era beauty mode fashion history master of retouching women history
Karl Schenker, Damenbildnis. Portrait of a Lady, around 1920. Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Museum Ludwig; ML; K. Schenker; aus der Sammlung von R & E. Ruminski

At the beginning Karl Schenker had a Studio in Berlin where everybody from high society be it aristocrats or politicians came to get their portraits taken. He did everything himself and where he shined most was the post-editing process where Karl Schenker proved to be a master of retouching. The studio portraits were taken in the gloomy style of the decade but with his hands and a brush he managed to add feathery and glowing highlights. The subjects were manipulated to look better and in the end they appeared with slimmer noses and shined with soft radiance wearing pelts and feather boas from the picture. Continue reading

Double Church In Rieselfeld – Freiburg | Architecture

Maria Magdalena im Rieselfeld Freiburg im Breisgau ökumenische Kirche neomodernism Baden-Württemberg Architektur brutalisme monolithic beton concrete catholic protestant evangelisch Germany Susanne Gross women architect

As much as I love ancient buildings, I also admire monoliths of neo-modern architecture.

Today we went to a zoo located in the outer rims of Freiburg. The whole district is called Rieselfeld and a part of it got transformed into a residential area. A very new borough with a very new church. Continue reading

Bars In Cologne: Suderman

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A cool bar space. Enough room to find a seat while still feeling cozy. Modern interior design but not too chic. Clean and not shabby. A place for a decent drink after work or on weekends when you actually don’t want to have a night out but still go out… This kind of bar I thought was missing in Cologne.

Not anymore!!! Look out for Continue reading

Quick And Tasty Pineapple Chicken Tikka Masala Curry Recipe

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Did you ever eat out at an Indian restaurant and didn’t find the food particularly tasty? That means lack of flavor, too greasy or other issues with it?

I know there are many great Indian food places in the UK or for sure in Berlin but I really do think that Cologne comes short. Although my friends always like it when we have Indian, Middle Eastern or Asian food outside. It could be that im very picky, ok, admit, I am picky. Still, the problem exists if curry (in Iran it would be khoresht) style foods don’t become cooked with lots of love and care they will easily taste bad. As I said before very often there are not much ingredients involved but the ones that are need to be of good quality and prepared non-hastily.

Well, here is a recipe for a curry that will blow your taste buds though I even cut a big amount of the fatty ingredients. Continue reading

Oskar Koller – Frühlingsstrauß

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The other day a delivery of greeting cards arrived at the Apricot Room and when I saw the vibrant colors of this one I had to take a picture immediately.

The motive is called ‘Frühlingsstrauß‘ and was painted by German artist Oskar Koller in 1999. It feels so contemporary, right?

Oskar Koller was born in 1925 in Erlangen and was also educated in graphic design which you can clearly see in his execution of form and color. His water color paintings are so vibrant and highly aesthetic yet free from any kind of please or kitsch though he very often chose to draw flowers. To paint with water color has not the best reputation as it is considered a beginner’s medium and very easy to perform. But you can reach very high artistic standards as for example Japanese 19th century artists have shown us before.

Oskar Koller died a few years ago and I couldn’t find out where the original Frühlingsstrauß is located though I stumbled upon other works which are available. They’re not especially super expensive, I mean still too much for me right now but if you’re willing to splurge… I always preach to invest in art and I think his works are pretty much worth it.

Foodora – Premium Delivery Service | A Burger & A Review

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I might have spent 16 Euros more wisely or more glamorous before. Was it good? Satisfying at least.

Since my visits in Egypt where practically every food place offers delivery I have missed being able to order anything that I have an urgent desire for and not only some dingy pizza directly from home.

This gap got recently closed by apps who offer an easy and safe process. Continue reading