Looking Back to 2019: Events That Surprised Istanbulites

We tought it would never happen, but here it is: The New Airport

We knew that they were building it. We knew that they planned to build the biggest of them all. But we also kind of hope that they would cancel the project. There were many rumors about it (good and bad), but what concerned the most of the Istanbulites was its location. It is simply too far away. Especially when one compares it with the convenient location of the Atatürk Airport. After the official opening ceremony in October 2018, when just a few flights were transferred to the new airport, the big opening was postponed to December 31st 2018. And then again postponed to March 3rd 2019… and then to April 6th 2019.  And on that day it has finally happened. Do you like the new airport and its location? I personally fell kind of little and lost in the huge building.

Photo was taken at the exhibition The Child Within Me; Artwork by Fabio Viale

We thought it would never finish, but we finally got a new mayor

Who would have guessed that a tiny difference, that is of about 20.000 votes can become the hottest topic in Istanbul for about 3 months? As an interesting fact, the difference almost equalled 1 vote per ballot in Istanbul.

Well, this is exactly what happened in 2019 in Istanbul. After a small difference between the first and second candidate for the mayor of Istanbul at the March elections, the elections were repeated only in Istanbul on June 23rd. This time, the winner was the same, Ekrem Imamoğlu, but the difference much bigger: 800.000 votes, that is 26 votes per ballot more compared to March.

San Sebastian Cheesecake – the latest fashion dessert in Istanbul

Izmir takes over: From Lokma Balls to Izmir Bombs

On the gastronomical “battlefield”, Izmir seems to be the total winner of 2019! Istanbulites (or at least their taste buds) have gone crazy for lokmas. What is lokma? A pastry made of leavened and deep-fried dough which is then soaked in sweet syrup. And if you don’t find it sweet enough, you can pour over some chocolate. How many lokma shops were opened in your neighbourhood?

And if this wasn’t sweet enough, Izmir sent us another sugar bomb, called Izmir Bombası. This is basically a very simple sweet pastry filled with A LOT of chocolate. I have to admit that I have tried it only once….and could not finish it. (I guess it was made with a chocolate filling that I consume in a week, not in a day!).

But, I am so sorry Izmir to say that, but towards the end of the year, our sweet tooth preferred Sebastian. San Sebastian Cheesecake to be more precise. In the most famous places, you have to wait in a line to indulge in this latest obsession of Istanbulites. Which is your favourite place? Mine (so far) is Meet Lab Coffee at Caddebostan.

And what do you think would be the dessert in 2020? My guess are churros con chocolate.

Plastic bags are not for free anymore…or are they?

I have been living in Istanbul for 6 years….and during all these years I was the awkward foreigner who goes grocery shopping with their backpack and textile bags. Saying “no” to a plastic bag was regarded as something weird, almost a kind of sin. I mean, why would you say no to something that is offered to you for free? And not only that it was for free, but you could also use it as a (free) trashbag later. Sounds like a win-win situation, doesn’t it?

But January 1st 2019 was the day on which we, all the awkward yabancis went from zero to hero. (At least as far grocery shopping is concerned.) 2019 was the year when grocery shopping with your old (reusable) textile bag finally became socially accepted in Turkey. Tough, I have to say that some interesting alternatives were seen on TV, especially in January, for example shopping with a wheelbarrow.

What comes next? Maybe finally a ban on plastic straws for all the adults?

The Miracle of Metro

Even though none of the Istanbul airports has a metro connection at the moment, and the Beşiktaş metro is still under construction, 2019 brought some good news regarding public transportation. Istanbul finally has a metro that operates 24 hours! Hurray!

(P.S.: only on Fridays and Saturdays)

I am Here: The Earthquake Returns

I have left one of the not so pleasant topics for the end. The Earthquake. Two earthquakes shook Istanbul in September, and especially the second one got us all worried: is THE big earthquake approaching? And is Istanbul ready? Are we ready?

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About spelayla

Welcome! My name is Špela. I love to travel, read and learn. And of course, share all these experiences.

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