Updated: February 14, 2014 On my first backpacking trip through Europe when I was 17, my travel partner and I spent a few days at a hostel villa in Tuscany. After a few weeks of city-to-city backpacking all I wanted to do was breathe, so I plucked a VHS of Serendipity from the hostel library and spent a few happy hours watching a bad 90’s chick flick. “You really shouldn’t spend the day doing something you can do at home,” my travel partner said. “But I’m so tired!” I’m sure I whined. That moment taught me an important lesson about travel- living your life to the fullest at every moment quickly becomes exhausting. So on my first full day in Istanbul, I did absolutely nothing. And it was wonderful. My cousin Suzy and her boyfriend, Serkan, showed me around their beloved neighborhood of Taksim. Taksim is a neighborhood located on the Asian side of Istanbul- the side known for being residential, upscale and largely tourist-free. I spent the day becoming familiar with the salty sea air, the vibrant rugs hanging from light poles, the vendors selling roasted chestnuts and the call the prayer, which came like clockwork. I was walking on the… Read full this story
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