I made a little durak at DoRock! I found an alternative scene in Istanbul, just off the main, bustling Istiklal cd in Taksim. I enjoyed this place. Great rock music from local bands. I went to this dark, grungy little place twice. The first time I went alone but I made friends with two guys my age. Burak and his Brit mate, Joe. I didn’t realised there were still people named Joe in the world. Hah! Actually, this was the first Joe I have personally met. These guys were awesome, funny and witty! We enjoyed some rock music, wine, laughs and a sip of raki (I really could not drink it). We may have been tipsy and convinced Joe to take the stage at an open mic session at the bar next door. He was unexpectedly good! The great thing about meeting locals was that they can educate you a little. We spoke about what was happening in the country; from the Kurds, to the Congolese and Syrian refugees. We were a little hungry and ended up in uncharted territory where most of the Syrians try to make a living. I had a little falafel wrap with a sip of Joe’s Ayran. Great night out with locals.
The second time I went to DoRock, I decided to take my host, Levent, for some live music before we’d go out partying! He was taking me out clubbing, the Turkish way. It was the night before I left for the Asian side so it seemed a great idea to leave with a bang!
Both of the nights showcased fantastic, FREE live alternative music.
Istiklal Caddesi is the 1.5 km stretch which is the heart of Taksim. I would think? It is where people meet up before a night out, where people shop until way after midnight, where people spend their days (and evenings) busking! It’s basically where everything happens. I loved walking up and down this street. This street sees thousands of people each day! This is the street that led to the Galata tower, it led me to the shops where I spent a fortune in, which led to great conversations with shopkeepers and it also led me to two girls from Durban. How did we find each other? Earrings! One of the girls and I were wearing identical wooden “Africa map” earrings made by a local craftsman in Durban! Small, small world. The little pleasures.
I made ice cream, coffee, store browsing stops the whole way to the end of the street. There are MANY alley ways that you could find yourself lost in the maze! I basically zigzagged my way down the street.
I have learnt so much about myself. I have learnt so much about this city. Taking it all in. One breath at a time.
“Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”