The power of coincidence – parking in Istanbul

Preface

For us Turkey began in Silivri, a town near Istanbul. On Saturday night we didn`t make it the whole way to our planned destination (which was Istanbul), so we parked our car just in some street in Silivri. While everybody apart from some barking dogs was asleep, we joined our new „neighbours“ for a night and dreamed about the adventures lying ahead of us. The first one of those came walking by our car the next morning just after we woke up. Still not 100 percent awake we saw a bunch of children coming closer to our „bed room“ and we quickly figured out that this was the opportunity to start our first soccer match with a crowd of Turkish youngsters. So we asked them: „Hey guys, u wanna play?“.The picture below might give an impression of the answer they gave us :-) We played and had a good time, even though it was a bit difficult to enjoy the moment, having to keep an eye on all our stuff, which our upgrowing friends were little too curious about.

So, playing with 15 kids was quite a nice start in the day and some sort of introduction to the crowded and busy city of Istanbul, which was waiting for us. First lesson we`ve learned about traffic in Istanbul ( like Ahmed, a friend we met later, used to say): „You have to look the enemy in the eyes and if you see some weakness, you drive first!“. Doesn`t sound like German traffic rules, but it`s the only way to make some meters in Istanbuls totally crazy traffic jams. After recognizing that our navigation system is not working any longer, no gas station has a city map and that leaving the mainroad was a big mistake, because we`ll never find back on it, we anyhow made it to Steffi`s place in 4 hours for 20 kilometres (no shit..). Finally entering Istanbul we could smell the traffic, see the beautiful ocean and feel the overwhelming presence of masses of people on the streets. Here life is happening outside – just astonishing!

Steffi, a friend of a friend but now just a friend welcomed us at her place and showed us around to get some good Turkish food. Food – that actually should get a chapter on it`s own. So far we have become real fans of Turkish cuisine. Recommended are Köfte, Adana-Kebab, for vegeterians Cig-Köfte and the very traditional but awesome Lensesoup. Each meal is followed by a cay-tee (or some more). And sweets, so many tasty sweets, we still can`t get enough of it. So for us, Turkey has definitely been a culinary highlight.

But lets get back to what we did in Istanbul, if not busy eating. After we had the pleasure to enjoy Steffis hospitality, we also got to know her flatmate, Faruk. The four of us spent a lot of time togehter. We`ll never forget our deep conversations while having some Efes Pilsen, the nice places you showed us in this neversleeping metropole and of course – the Schooladventure.

Ahh, I forgot to tell you. Faruk is a teacher, probably the most chilled and coolest one we`ve ever seen and he took us to his lessons. This is why little Turkish kids got the opportunity to ask many questions about us, our trip and Germany. Afterwards we enjoyed playing on the soccer-table with them. So we had a real good time with these lovely children and we suppose it was pretty enjoyable for them too!

Their actually was one „problem“ left. Parking our car and not paying loads of money for it.

If you would ask a person from Istanbul, if he or she could name just one good thing about searching for a free-parking place, especially in the Istanbul city-center of Beyoglu, the person probably could not imagine any positive thing connected to that, because first of all searching for a parking space sucks everywhere, but in Istanbul it is horrible to find a spot and it will stress you totally out, because traffic is just a big mess. In our case searching for a spot for our car was the best thing that could have ever happened to us – just an example of the power of coincidence and our luck. Why? Because all of a sudden (right when we were starting to despair), their came a funny guy (his name was Mihran) knocking on our window and said: „You need help? Are you searching for a place to park? I can help you – you can use our parking area!“. Not believing in our incredible luck, we (of course) accepted his offer and he unlocked a parkingplace in front of his house for us. But that`s not enough, Mihran, actually kind of an artist, dancer and actor, performing together with his friends from the „Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanyası“-community, (just check it out on their website: http://www.ciplakayaklar.com/english/index_e.html) invited us for his performance later that evening, which we totally enjoyed – thanks a lot for that! We are so glad, we met all of you!

But still not enough. We met some more of Mihrans friends who warmly welcomed us and had some more suprises left for us.

First thing again had to do with our car. We had some serious problems with our wheeling, it was blocking sometimes so that we couldn`t drive properly in certain situations. Anyway, we tried to fix it on our own, but soon figured out, that we can not do it and have to find a repair shop. So it is quite more than a task to find a good repair place, specialized in VW-busses with staff able to speak english in a city with 17 million people… But not if you know Cihan who is – no surprise – a friend of Mihran. He took us to the best place for old vw-cars you probably can find in whole Turkey: „ARZU OTO – Full Servis“. When we arrived at the place, first thing these guys did, was calling Ahmet, who speaks excellent German and English, so he could translate for us and really helped us out of our misery. Perfect, thanks so much for your help! The VW-guys soon recognized the problem and fixed it in a few hours – in Germany for sure it would have taken us 3 days, because they would have had to order a new piece, which our turkish friends just fixed on their own somehow :) – but it works so far!

Dear friends, thanks a lot for fixing our car and so make it possible for us to continue our journey!

„Sevgili arkadaşlar, arabamızı tamir ettiğiniz için ve yolculuğumuza devam etmemizi sağladığınız için çok teşekkür ederiz!”

So Bernd (our car) again was on the road, actually in a big „stop and go“ after we left the repair shop. Since we moved one meter per minute, I decided to take a pee in a hotel I saw next to the road. When I came out of it again I didn`t see the car anymore, traffic somehow was moving fast, so I started running in the middle of the 5-laned road, searching for the green bus. Luckily for me I saw it after a 5-minute sprint through the streetsmok, then lost it again, because Simon couldn`t just stop in the middle of the road. Finally, I made it… but just picture me running – the long German guy just trying to catch up with his own bus – hilarious :-) . After I had made it back into the car we drove as quick a possible to Taksim Square, where we met Zeynep. We originally wanted to stay at Zeyneps flat, but then just met for a nice dinner in one of the countless restaurants in the streets around Taksim. Dear Zeynep, unfortunately we could not spend to much time together, but still we enjoyed meeting and getting to know you!

So, what next … sure, next surprise. To keep it short. We were invited to another performance of the artists community and Cihan, whose is doing flying effects professionally and made us Globekickers fly as well (check his website: www.vertigoeffects.com). Thank you so much for making this possible – we really enjoyed this a lot!

With this our really impressive and unforgettable Istanbul-experience ended and left us with the strange feeling that quite a lot of our experiences is influenced by coincidence and fate!

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