A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

Even though I do not remember the first time I heard a song by Nana Mouskouri, or which one it was for that matter, her folksy tunes have been traveling with me throughout my life – from way back when I was in primary school in the 70s, to my boarding school days in the 80s, to college in the early 90s and presently in my car CD collection touring Istanbul. Her multi-languaged repertoire has hence surpassed just being a name on album covers to becoming sountracks reminiscent of my life episodes, bringing into my mind a remark by the … Continue reading A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

The region between Galata Bridge and Beyazıt is the old market district of the city. As well as being one of the oldest, it is also one of the most architecturally rich and picturesque quarters of Istanbul where the tumultous sreets are full of clamour and commotion with crowds of shoppers hurrying along the maze of streets and sidewalk vendors trying to grab their attention. It is also a part of Istanbul where one is more than likely to come across a typical Turkish Bath which is has kept its authenticity to a degree without becoming too commercialized. Albeit brisk … Continue reading A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub

Perched on the European side of Istanbul, Maslak is the typical business district with soaring steel buildings, sparse pedestrian traffic during the day, plenty of congestion at rush hour and eyecatching neon lights at night. Hence it was a huge surprise for me to discover a museum embraced by all the towering steel and glass buildings where most of the daily activities revolve around business plans, long meetings, fancy power point presentations, financial figures and lots and lots of coffee breaks. Proje 4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary art was the treasure trove of the week – thank you TEB private … Continue reading Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub

Sobremesa – that enchanting word which summons “joie de vivre”

There are some words which are full of character but unfortunately or maybe fortunately do not have exact translations in other languages, some are synonymous with bliss, some with solitude, some with confusion… Sobremesa is such a word in Spanish. Literally meaning “over the table”, it apparently refers to Spaniards’ art of savoring the conversation and company of others after a meal. Last weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with a Spanish friend I had not seen in years at a small fish restaurant in Nevizade – the very local nightlife area in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. It was … Continue reading Sobremesa – that enchanting word which summons “joie de vivre”

An evening stroll around Les Grands Magasins in Paris

Paris is famed as “La Ville Lumière ” due to its reference as the birthplace of the Age of Enlightenment – the center of education and ideas throughout Europe in the in late 17th- and 18th-centuries. And this self-commendatory motto is used by Parisians today to convey the magnificence of the city as still being the cultural and material beacon to the world. I believe Paris also holds its “city of lights” tag from the “wattage” point of view even after a nationwide”lights-out” law which became effective Mid 2013 forcing shops and other buildings to switch off their lights every … Continue reading An evening stroll around Les Grands Magasins in Paris

Beykoz – a peaceful waterside retreat in the suburbs of Istanbul

With one of the most spectacular views of the Bosphorus, delightedly, Beykoz town center still belongs to its residents. Beykoz, once upon a time a remote fishing village with limited access to transportation and communication to central Istanbul is today linked by a very long stretch of road.   In fact, the coastline leading up to Beykoz is home to some of the most expensive houses and the grandest of the huge wooden Ottoman seaside houses called ‘yali’ so how Beykoz center has been spared the overdevelopment witnessed in many parts of the city is beyond my comprehension.  Beykoz derives its … Continue reading Beykoz – a peaceful waterside retreat in the suburbs of Istanbul

Neighbours Exhibition – a kaleidescope of colours and experiences at Istanbul Modern

I beg to differ from Joan Miró who apparently once said: “Merde! I absolutely detest all openings and parties! They’re commercial, political and everybody talks too much. They get on my tits!” As I am not in the art business but am passionate about art, I tend to enjoy attending parties honouring museum or gallery exhibition openings in the hope of meeting the artists in person, to chat and exchange ideas, sometimes eavesdrop on conversations and become part of that very creative and colourful community. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the January 8 opening gala of the … Continue reading Neighbours Exhibition – a kaleidescope of colours and experiences at Istanbul Modern

Welcome 2014, hope you have arrived with beauty and peace in your basket

Although I am not one for resolutions at the beginning of each year, there are two very strict rituals I abide by at new year’s– one is to crack open a pomegranate as soon as the clock turns midnight , the other one is to pay a visit to Ayin Biri Church in Unkapani first thing in the morning on January 1st. My belief is that each and every deep red pomegrenate seed signifies abundance and when I toss one out with all my might, the seeds scatter out to bring opulence my way.  This year’s ceremony was even more … Continue reading Welcome 2014, hope you have arrived with beauty and peace in your basket

Ayvalık – Turkey’s Olive Riviera

It was the first time I had been to Ayvalık , literally “quince orchard”,  off-season.  Only about 120 km from my hometown of Izmir, I used to frequent this small fishing town of 30,000 for delicious seafood lunches on Sundays during the spring months.  It dawned on me that I had not set foot in Ayvalık since moving to Istanbul in 2006. In reality what started out to be a day business trip from Istanbul, coupled into being a delicacies shopping fest. After contemplating with my colleagues which mode of transport to use, the unanimous decision was the comfort of … Continue reading Ayvalık – Turkey’s Olive Riviera

Paris observed through a friend’s camera and my guidance

I am one of the luckier souls for being extended the opportunity to travel to Paris for work. Each and everytime I set foot in that very alluring city I fall in love with it all over again. I was thrilled but at the same time skeptical on giving advice to a colleague, who an adventurer himself was curiously enough setting foot in Paris for the first time, on what not to miss out. Off for a two day business trip, with only the late afternoons to spare for himself, I was confused on how to compile the Paris to-do … Continue reading Paris observed through a friend’s camera and my guidance