Clelebrating New Years in Istanbul

Our plan was solid: travel business class in the evening, being all suites up so that we could just drop off our luggage and head straight out for dinner and new years celebration. Although all went well, it was not quite what we had imagined, mainly because rain was pouring down from the sky the whole evening.

We also had chosen Taksim Square as the place to transit into the new year because of some reccomendations that I will not pass on. For some reason there were no shops around selling alcohol, around 95% of the people there were men (probably keeping wives and children at home), there were hardly any fireworks to see and there was no countdown, only people dancing and singing around midnight so we lost the whole feeling of passing from 2014 to 2015.

So, Istanbul might not be our choice for the next new years celebration, and if we do decide to spend new years here again we would choose to celebrate around Karakøy Street looking at fireworks over the Galata Bridge, which is connecting Karakøy in Europe and Eminønu in Asia. Apparantly the street parties there have outdoor DJs, foam and light shows, but that might also be different when it is raining heavily.

Luckily we had more days to spend in this lovely city and although it was cold the whole stay (0-3 degrees celcius) there was no rain and we managed to have a good time. We got to relax

We had also planned to spend a day in a traditional Hamam (Turkish Bath), but when we saw the steep prices we decided that we would rather watch the “Hobbit” at the Cinemapink theater which was quite interesting as all chairs had been replaced with couches and there was a smoke break halfway through the movie. High prices are probably a way of making the hamams more exclusive, as fewer people would use them, just like the 4TYL/2USD you had to pay every time changing tram, while a cheap kebab will cost almost half as much. It is probably neccessary in a city with 12 million official innhabitants and a few million unofficial ones.

Istanbul is a city with lots of history and a great mix of people and cultures and is a city that I will visit again already in May this year. It is a city worth spending a few days in and a city you might find yourself returning to many times afterwards, but maybe not for new years which might better be spent elsewhere.