Most tourists in Istanbul remain on the European side and unfortunately miss discovering “boom town” modern Istanbul with its trendy neighbourhoods, chic bars & restaurants.
Atashehir, among many other neighbourhoods on the Asian side, is one of the most dynamic areas in Istanbul, and the place to live when you make some serious money. Though, the very rich Istanbulites probably own one of incredibly picturesque dwellings perched on the shores of the Bosporus. Those come in all sizes, huge mansions to what looks like semi-attached houses.
Other neighbourhoods reminded us of gated community in Florida, except that they consist of 15 – 20 high-rises, scattered around a well-maintained garden. Pools and tennis courts are part of the deal, the residents you meet at the pool bar or strolling around the garden could pass as Italians in their trendy clothes.
Of course, we would have never experienced this city in such a way, if we had not agreed to a non-simultaneous home exchange. We stayed for four days in the comfortable flat of Yilmaz, a retired colonel of the Turkish air force and his wife Inci, while they spent these hot summer days in their holiday home on the Aegean coast. They will visit Vienna for three weeks in July / August while we are travelling through Colombia.
One evening Yilmaz took us for a drink to the senior officer’s lounge of the Turkish navy, the most gorgeous location right on the ocean. Dinner we had at the officer’s club of the air force overlooking the Bosporus. Needless to say that these were two unique, unforgettable experiences.