Friday was Jim’s 65th birthday. Just in front of the tram stop at Fındlıkı station is this shop:
and, it provided our takeout dinner. Pasta means this:
So, pasta (pastries) was our main course, topping off the signing of our lease on an apartment in Moda.
It got very cold as the sun dropped in the afternoon, our realtor was talking snow, although there is none in the forecast so far. Istanbullus LOVE the outdoors. In our new home town of Moda (as of January 1) people dine al fresco in mid December, aided by establishment-provided pashminas and patio heaters. I wonder what it will take to get us all inside?
Our visitors will need to ride the glorious ferry to see the tourist gems of the ages, but when they work their way back to Anatolia, they will revel in Moda and Kadiköy’s charms too…
Basically, we took the first flat we looked at…we did look at another in Kabataş/Beyoğlu, which we really liked, and in some respects was more suitable, but the Moda place has a wide open view of the Sea of Marmara, facing west. That means big boats and daily sunsets. The street in front is very quiet, the Kadiköy/Moda Tramvay is 1/2 block away if for some reason we don’t want a 10 minute stroll along the water to the ferry, and directly down steps is a big park on the corniche for our athletic water dog.
Beyoğlu is charming in an old European way, with very narrow, VERY steep cobblestoned streets and long sheer stairsteps. There are tiny groceries, several to a block, but none of the goods inside have inspired us to step into the kitchen.
On our reconnaissance trip in May, we walked many of the streets we do now. We ranged all over Beyoğlu, up along the Golden Horn to Fener and Balat, we scaled the Asian cliffs of Kuzguncuk, ruling it out because it felt a bit far away from the center. Taking Istanbul’s traffic into consideration, we chose against Beşiktaş because we would have been reliant on street-bound buses We learned the hard way one long Sunday afternoon, when every bus that stopped was full and we walked all the way home, that rail and water were desirable. Were it not for an American friend who was living in Moda, we may not have made our way over there, but the minute we stepped off the ferry in Kadiköy, it felt more “us”. It was a bit more “beachy”, lighter, more open. It is still very urban, and today it felt like a smaller town in Europe. Moda (a neighborhood) in larger Kadiköy has enough going on to be interesting and yet seems small enough to be personal. We were Upper West Siders in Manhattan in the early 80’s when hookers worked Broadway above 84th street and beyond 96th Street was the DMZ. I chose my NY apartment, partly because I could hear birds over the street noise.
So, here is a sampling of what caught our eye as we roamed our future neighborhood just before we signed our rental lease.
Türks have been uniformly welcoming to us. We really need to speak the language to live here, but when we are standing on the street perplexed, trying to communicate in our only language, English, a local who does speak English always steps in to help out.
And, consumerism is alive and well…all customers are welcome…Sonra görüsürüz! (see you later)