New Year’s Eve in Istanbul

Happy New Year!

Every country has its own traditions when it comes to New Year’s Eve, and Turkey is no different. It was interesting to see and hear all that Istanbul had to offer. The biggest thing that I noticed in the days leading up to NYE is that there was harldy any mention of it. Sure, there were signs in shop windows and ads for clubs and such, but there wasn’t nearly as much hype as there seems to be in the States. It was nice.

Another aspect that was odd was the fact that Santa hats are directly linked to NYE. I have no idea why.

Before arriving in the country we had decided to spend NYE out and about. I read about Taksim Square and that it was the place to be. However, after we arrived and began talking to more people, we realized that the square might not be such a great choice. Mainly as it is apparently full of drunk men who get a bit handsy as the night goes on. Needless to say, neither of us were looking for that sort of evening. So, instead we decided to walk for a bit along the main drag and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of NYE in Istanbul.

We began the night with a light supper in our room while watching some NYE Turkish tv.
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After our fill, we headed to the streets to see what we could see. We started along the main drag, Istikal Caddesi, and it was streaming with people most of them heading towards Taksim Square (and 95% of them were men, natch).
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Along the way we say loads of police (mostly younger guys and always in packs of four),
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some dancing, lots and lots of dudes and roasted hazelnut carts.
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We stopped for a drink at a cafe/bookstore and watched the world go by for a bit.

With about ten minutes to go, we began walking back to the hotel. It was easy to tell when the clock hit 12 as the street level noise rose, whistles were blown and cheers erupted from restaurants and bars. 2013 is here!

Back at the hotel we snuck up to the roof to catch the last of the fireworks exploding over the Bosphorus.
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