East, West Is Istanbul The Best?
Author: merve özcangaz
Wednesday 16th of April 2014 12:01:32 PM

I had a great time during my EVS, both at DAA HQ and in Belgium. Unfortunately, I have few more days left in Antwerp and I am thinking about home. Do I miss Istanbul or not?

As you know, I live in Istanbul, which is famous for its Bosporus. When there is no sea, something is missing in my life. I miss not only the view of it but also the relaxing effect of the seaside smell. On the other hand, Istanbul isn’t famous for its green areas. Sadly, we don’t have huge parks and gardens. I am lucky to live in DAA HQ because it’s just next to the Rivierenhof that is one of the largest parks in Antwerp. I will miss that relaxing and peaceful atmosphere.

Istanbul is a city that never sleeps. Especially in streets like Istiklal Caddesi which is one of the most famous avenues in Istanbul, visited by nearly 3 million people in a single day. In the city, the shops are closed later and there is always some people in the streets. At least there are always some friendly street animals to keep you company. This is what I miss the most because I sometimes feel like the city is abandoned here in Antwerp. Although the day ends earlier in Antwerp, the city is so safe in the night and perfect for walking and cycling.  Saying that, if you are planning a visit to Istanbul or wanting to live there, you should learn how to deal with traffic and crowd. Istanbul is 20 times more crowded than both Antwerp and Brussels and sometimes the traffic is unbelievable. Riding a bike? Don’t be ridiculous! I will miss my healthier, easier and traffic-free life in Antwerp a lot.

Although Istanbul is the most expensive city in Turkey, some things are extremely cheaper than European metropolises. We are very keen on eating so we have very cheap and delicious food in the street, also clothes are way cheaper. I must admit that I gave up converting currencies because if you are from a country whose currency is less valuable, seeing the price is so shocking and depressing.

For better or worse I love living in Antwerp and enjoy being a volunteer. In some aspects I miss my hometown but it is not painful. I don’t think that I will move here completely, but if I have another chance to live here again, why not? I still have many things that I want to do…

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