Having had a taste of Kadikoy last weekend through a Sunday afternoon venture to Haydarpasa Station, we could not but wait a week to return. This time armed with a hostel reservation to ensure we could have a taste of what the bars have to offer on the other side of the Bosphorous.
Our destination, Hush Hostel Lounge. Not before we stopped off at an all you can eat Chinese restaurant in Sisli (top floor Cevahir Mall). Just 16tl for Chinese junk food goodness, our prayers have been answered. Perfectly adequate Chinese food for our spend shy pockets that prefer to waste same amount (if not more) on a single cocktail on the weekend (blame it on the alcohol). Then again there are always the bar snacks…. Great Dong Chinese Restaurant, with its nice view of Istanbul rooftops and cheap umami food, this restaurant is highly recommended for those craving home comforts. Be sure to wear loose fitting trousers.
On to Kadikoy, opting for the romantic version of this journey, taking the ferry ride over the Bosphorus and standing on the top deck to savour the view and the flock of seagulls (and seagull poo) in all its glory. Winter be damned. The tea man very kindly tried to charge us 3.50tl for the luxary of tea on the ferry, upon offering to return the untouched drinks, gave us back the correct change. 1tl it is.
On we went to the hostel conveniently located on Iskele Street just off the main waterfront, I have to say we were pleasantly surprised when we reached our accommodation. Clean and friendly with a pleasant lounge, kitchen, terrace and dining area not to mention breakfast in the morning, one most certainly cannot complain. The staff were more than friendly, going that extra mile to take us personally to our drinking destination (Bar street)… customer service at its finest.
The rest of the night is best not spoken about, lets say we were a little too enthusiastic about the drunken revelry. What happens in Kadikoy, stays in Kadikoy……Leaving the club early due to far too enthusiastic pre drinking and ridiculously priced cocktails (30tl), we got home and into bed before realising that a) it was far to early to be going to bed on a Friday night and b) we hadn’t eaten anything since the Chinese Buffet at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, 12 hours had passed since our fine feast!! We hurridley got our shit together and made our way out to find some late night eats. A 100 metre walk had us arrive at a closed Turkish restaurant with some friendly looking men ushering us to come in. Unlocking the door, they proceeded to show us the fresh (uncooked) chicken breast that was ours, if we so wanted. Don’t I love this city. Bestowed with freshly cooked food and a rather nice complementary salad with tea and a rendition of Gagnam Style (by the hosts drunk on Raki), this was an early morning private dining experience that could only happen in Turkey.
The following day we were rudely awakened by an alarm telling us it was time to get breakfast and swiftly depart before the extra charge sleeping over would incur. A nice selection of items that make up your typical Turkish breakfast (cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, bread), swallowed down with tea, coffee and more tea set us up for whatever the day had in store. We left at 11 on the dot, a fair checkout time, to traipse the streets of Kadikoy slightly sick and very hungover. We meandered here and there, stopping off at one of the many antique bric a brac shops, for longer than I would have liked, whilst my significant other browsed for coins to add to his collection (yawn). A pyramid and some (dirty) coins heavier we ambled on, back to Bar street, for cheap eats. We landed at a place titled Kokorec for some Kokorec (believe it or not) and 3 lira burgers. Can’t go wrong. That is until I found out that Kokorec is actually intestines. Nice.
On we went down the streets ending up in the trendy neighborhood of Moda, full of nice, fancy looking cafes and interesting looking shops. From here we ended up at the waterfront, the place that I will enivitably always be drawn to in this city. A new experience for me, looking at the view across the river from the other side, Kadikoy is somewhat more peaceful than those it overlooks. Plus here you get the view of the Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace over the way.
Our seaside amble eventually took us back to the centre, bracing ourselves for the long journey home. Ready to jump on the subway, we retracked and decided to head over to Haydarpasa, to get a closer look at it aided by the sunshine.
It’s glamour not diminished in the light of day but enhanced, such a shame this will not be used as it was intended again. How romantic would it be to board at train at this station going deeper into Anatolia? If only I had arrived early enough to make the journey. Alas it will never be, instead we had to shake ourselves back to reality, the school week imminent. Homeward bound.
To conclude I will put forward the notion that hell is riding the Metrobus from Asia all the way to Cumihuriyet Mahallesi, (3 stops from the end of the metrobus line), with a hangover on a Sunday evening, your stomach turning at every stop. Not recommended but worth it, if but to avoid the same epic journey at early o’clock in the morning followed by a wasted day in bed at home due to a fear of the light at the other side of the curtain.
Note to self; hostel stay on a night out recommended due to the opportunities to be had at early rising time and ability to get to bed at a less unholy time due to proximity to bars.