Want to feel some holiday warm and fuzzies? Take a few minutes to enjoy this Turkish video from Manzara Istanbul, a vacation apartment rental agency in Turkey‘s most popular city. The agency is run by a German Turk, who coordinated his entire staff to sing a not-exactly-stellar but very sweet version of the Christmas carol “O Tannenbaum” (aka “O Christmas Tree”), in German, no less. It’s part music video, part travelogue of the lovely Galata neighborhood, much of it off key, but heartfelt. You can also see the making of their awesome green glass bottle Christmas tree in Istanbul, but the narration is all in German. For more information on the musicians, the (very impressive) production team behind the video has a post here.
Manzara has also released another holiday video for this year, with more endearing Turks, beautiful shots of Istanbul, and great music, but the traditional Arabesque style is a bit on the cheesy side.
As an expat in Istanbul, I enjoy seeing anything Turkey-related, and this vintage video of the former Constantinople is especially fun to see. Narrated by a droll British commentator, you travel over and around Istanbul, checking out some of the big sights such as Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, as well as life on the Bosphorus before the bridges were constructed to provide alternate access between the European and Asian sides of the city. Not too much has changed in 45 years, though the traffic seems lighter and the city less crowded than with today’s populate of 13 million (or perhaps more) people. I’d like to say that the Galata Bridge is no longer a “man’s world,” but fishing is still mostly men-only even if women are not only “veiled or hidden away”.
They do miss out on some correct terminology: the “different and delightful” bread ring is a simit, best accompanied by some Turkish cheese or with a full breakfast spread. The “hubble bubble pipe” is a nargile, found at many cafes and bars around the city and savored with a hot glass of çay (only tourists drink the apple stuff) or a cold Efes (if your nargile bar happens to serve alcohol). Barbeque remains a national pastime of the Turks and yes, “any old tin” will do. As in 1967, Istanbul is still the place to savor a fish sandwich fresh from the water, hop on a ferry between continents, and admire your newly shined shoes.
Six months ago today, I arrived in Turkey, jetlagged and excited to begin my current adventure as an expat. Since then, I’ve gotten to know the many hills, museums, and cafes in this city nearly as well as New York. In honor of this anniversary, I chose this photo by Flick user Luke Robinson that says “Istanbul” to me with nary a kebap, bazaar, or minaret in sight. It’s on the Galata Bridge spanning the Golden Horn, where dozens of fishermen stand every day in hopes of catching a fish from the Bosphorus. Some men fish for a living, others fish for pleasure, and you can spot more than a few men wearing suits and leather shoes. Hungry for fish? The bridge’s lower level is packed with fish restaurants serving the catch of the day.
Do you have a great travel photo that captures the essence of a place? Upload it to our Flickr Pool and it could be a future Gadling Photo of the Day.