Istanbul, the city of many mysteries and relics from the past, offers its visitors an amazing experience.
As we like to be local when we travel, we ride the buses, take the trains, trams and ferries all over this vast city of 15 million
It is such a huge city that it can take up to two hours to cross from an outlying sections to the edge of the city by the Bosphorus Sea and not even cross to the Asian side of the city, which can stretch for another two hours.
There is so much traffic that to go any distance by bus is a minimum of an hour, and depending on traffic can take up to two hours to go 8 km.
But the views and the people are wonderful.
Bodies are packed very close together, but the men are mostly respectful of the women and children.
Sometime you enter the bus in front and pay with your pass. Other times on crowed buses, you are entering from the rear doors.
To pay for your journey, you hand your bus pass to the next person, and they send it forward to the driver to pay your fare.
Minutes later, your pass comes back in the same manner.
Passing forward or back. But to me, the amazing part is that it gets returned.
Ride the tram on Sultanamet, and you pass the ancient Roman sistern, the Hagia Sofia, the Blue mosque, and parts of the ancient aqueduct system that brought water into Istanbul in the times of the Roman Empire.
Add to this visual mixture, the restaurants and the variety of foods and goods to buy and enjoy, and before you are even aware, a week has gone by. You might even be a bit exhausted.
Then there’s the Tango world here.
Remember Türkiye is a country of Muslims but not a Muslim country.
There are two types of tango danced here, Argentinetango and Turkishtango.
Closed and open embrace.
Using Hoy Milonga and Facebook, it is possible to find all the milongas here.
But be aware that some are in old buildings with no elevators and a 4th or even 5th floor walk ups.
While others are in restaurants and bars, almost none are on street level.
The problem for me is the number of people here who are smokers. There seems to be many more tango dancers that smoke here in İstanbul than in Buenos Aires.
Smoking is not allowed inside but only outside on the terraces and decks.
As to admission prices range from
80 T ₺ to a high of 125 ₺ [similar to prices in BsAs about 800 peso to 1500 pesos.
At my favorite milonga at the Armada Hotel, for example. This milonga has been going on for 24 years. There are tables surrounding the floor, while at Tangoist, Tango Nar [ all in Tasksim], there are chairs against the wall.
Sometimes, the host seats you at a table, and other times, it is free for all. Turks do not believe in saving seats, even if all your stuff is left there, someone else will sit there.
The most wonderful part of this…
Yes, there is Argentinetango all over the world to find.
So far this year, we have danced in Spain and in Turkey. In September, we are off to Petra, Jordan for a marathon.
Traveling just takes time, money and patience.
Making new friends and discovering a new place for a milonga in any given country is why we travel.
To be able to dance, to travel and enjoy all that is there, is truly a gift.
With gratitude to you my reader, who encourages me to write and foto.