Good morning from Istanbul!! Now it’s raining heavily, but still, I will miss this amazing city. From my window, I can see the boats on the hazy Bosphorus, and I’m thinking about Istanbul and the Turkish people I’ve met these days. 

Despite the general media sensation, the turmoils and the fear of some folks, Istanbul stands still, an old, brave, magical city, full of history, art, and traditions, with delicious food, kind people and my favorite scents: roses, ginger, and roasted chestnuts. 

And if you ever asked yourself how does a strawberry heaven look like, now I will show you! I found this little treasure in the lobby of the fabulous Shangri-La Bosphorus, our home for two days. 

But this is not all. We had some beautiful sunny spring days in here, with seagulls laughing in the port. But I chose to stay mostly indoors because I love this huge apartment. White, beige, and turquoise are the main colors of the hotel, soft materials are combined in a perfect style with wood, leather, and luxury industrial details. Large windows, a desk I will never forget, and that warm feeling of being home. We’ve just rested, worked and discovered this wonderful place. 

In our first night at Shangri-La, we took the dinner at Shang Palace, the hotel’s signature restaurant, with Chinese-Cantonese cuisine. I was surprised by the first dish – a sweet-chili beef, with honey – it was a perfect opening for the dinner. Then we’ve tried chicken with shallots and beef with honey and vegetables, a soft & scented cocktail with champagne and raspberries, fried ice-cream and a kataifi with vanilla ice-cream. It was a magical night and our senses were truly spoiled. 

And I have some things in here that I loved very much: the divine silence, the warm and friendly atmosphere, the food (a glorious breakfast and dinner), the colors, the furniture (not only made for the design, but for comfort too), the view, the glass house in front of the hotel, the kind and smiling people, and the strawberries tree, sweets and decorations for Valentine’s Day celebration, or for those like me who celebrate love every day. 

Yes, the word for Shangri-La Bosphorus is LOVE! 

It’s something very powerful and sensitive to watch people walking down the street, with their stories and smiles, and to understand that they wear their kindness and candor as an armor. Turkish people are not afraid to be seen or to ask for their rights, but at the same time, they appreciate normality, a walk on the seaside, a smile or a sunny day, and they are living with so much love in their souls. 

I am so happy to see this side of the story and share it with you. And I am very grateful for my Turkish friends. Thank you! 

All photos made by Vlad Semen, with Sony A7S.

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