So I get taken to an area of #Istanbul that I would never have ventured into on my own. An area off the tourist radar but only a few tram stops away from the #grandbazaar .
Young hipster bearded #Syrians , #Iraqis , #Egyptians and other #Arabs all meet up here to eat and catch-up after a hard days work.
The area looked a bit sketchy but had a cool vibe, like how Brick lane once had 10- 15 years ago, before the gentrification 😂.
I later discover that I was in area now known as "Little Syria", because of the wave Syrians who have moved here and set up shop.
Anyway, my new friend and I dine at this place, alfresco dining on the street with all the hustle and bustle.
There was #Arabic couple on the table to my left and a young mixed couple on the right. My friend helps the couple on my right with the menu and gets chatting to the guy in arabic. I find out he is Algerian, so I give him a piece of my mind of what I think of Algerians and have a bit of a laugh 😁. After our meal I buy a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice from the street stall next door and we walk to a small neighbourhood square.
I was expecting it to be quiet as it was late, instead I discover it bustling with people, families, young children and men, majority of whom were #refugees .
There I sat on the bench with my friend, only half listening to his life story because I couldn't believe what I was witnessing right in front of me. You read about it these things in the papers but there I was witnessing it first hand.
I couldn't help but stare at the family sitting on the bench opposite me with their innocent little children playing. I was thinking why were they sitting in the cold, why were their young children not in bed yet, had they just arrived in the city?
In that moment, I realised all the problems in my life were trivial to what they were going through and had endured thus far. Everyone there had a story.
It was one of the most memorable evenings that I will remember for the rest of my life...and it was all thanks to me taking a risk and trusting a total stranger I randomly met in a spice shop. #istanbultravelmoments#solotravel#istanbulthecityofmyheart ❤