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Istanbul, Turkey (Taksim)

(Mid-2020, 1 MONTH)

Summary: walkable, small business, hostile, cafe's, "religious", street cats, smokers

Most Instagrammable: The Umbrella Street (see below)

Best Cafe: Books & Coffee

Best Gym: MacFit (except nobody puts weights back, not even the gym trainers)

The Strangest: Prinkipo Orphanage (1800s all-wooden luxury hotel and casino turned orphanage on an island)

  • Really similar to San Francisco in terms of how the homes are all smashed together on hills and near the water. Lots of corner stores, and people eating on the sidewalk from the restaurants.
  • An evening town! Things don't open until 10am and it's quiet until noon
  • A Cafe town! No place in the world I've been to has this many cafe's.
  • So many streets cats
  • My very first impression was seeing the highway from the airport getting landscaped. I saw three groups maintaining it. This is uncommon and a great sign.
  • No Uber! BOOOO
  • The women here do not like going to the gym. I've never seen so few women inside of a gym before. Maybe it's because the men are douchey. One asked me to move machines in the middle of my exercise, another started taking the weights of a bar I was using.
  • Fun fact: Istanbul had 1400 public toilets around the city during the times of the Ottoman Empire while the rest of Europe had none.
  • Everyone smokes, and a lot! I met a guy at the gym who said he smokes 3  packs per day. I'm sitting at a cafe right now at 9:30am and the girl in front of me in on her second cigarette in less than 10 minutes. It's not uncommon to see someone smoke 5+ cigarettes while having a conversation.
  • The city sits on two continents (Europe and Asia). The Bosphorus splits the sides.
  • Biggest street dogs I've ever seen
  • Very low English level, waiters on the main touristy street don't speak English.

Known For: Hot air balloons in Cappadocia, street cats, Turkish coffee, hair transplants, Raki (national drink)
...

CITY IMPRESSIONS

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I choose the items below as they’re generally available everywhere. Thus, easy for comparison. The prices reflect the cheapest option given my standard. In any estination you can find slightly cheaper prices if you wanted to sacrifice convenience (ie going to local market or out-of-town grocery store).
ITEM
  • Airbnb Nightly Rate
  • Electric Scooter
  • Coworking Day Pass
  • 1-Hour Massage
  • 1-Month Gym
  • Beard Trim
  • 16.9oz Water
  • 2KG Wash+Fold
  • Americano (small)
  • Expresso
  • Salmon
  • Tenderloin
  • Chicken Breast
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple
  • Watermelon
  • Red Wine
TURKISH LIRA (TRY)
  • 359
  • 1.99 (unblock) + 0.59/min
  • -
  • 500
  • 240
  • 30
  • 1.25
  • 43/bag
  • 12
  • 9
  • 95/KG
  • 120/KG
  • 19/KG
  • 80/KG
  • 320/KG
  • 20/KG
  • 18/KG
  • 8/KG
  • 3.5/KG
  • 4/KG
  • 30/KG
  • -/KG
  • 2/KG
  • 29
US DOLLARS ($)
  • 46
  • 0.25 + 0.08/min
  • 0
  • 64
  • 31
  • 4
  • 0.16
  • 5.51/bag
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0 - 5.5/LB
  • 6.98/LB
  • 1.11/LB
  • 4.61/LB
  • 18.63/LB
  • 1.16/LB
  • 1.05/LB
  • 0.46/LB
  • 0.20/LB
  • 0.23/LB
  • 1.75/LB
  • 0/LB
  • 0.12/LB
  • 4
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