Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | June 16, 2012

Sleepless in ‘Stamboul

Lately I have not been able to sleep well, so I have been getting up at 6, done with the night but not really ready for the day. I was starting to feel like I had cabin fever, so I decided that instead of pacing around at home, I could go for a walk. That has been interesting, as the people who are out at that early hour are quite a mixed bunch.

Most of the people who are out in one way or another are the night people. I walked through Tophane Park and almost every bench had a blanket-wrapped man on it. The other day when I walked past the water fountain at Tophane, there was a man sleeping in the place where normally one would get water. His dog was with him keeping watch. Another time I walked by and the dog too was asleep.






I noticed things more as I walked.  I have gone by Marmara University many many times, but this time I could look into the garden, which had finished and partially finished student sculptures.  i particularly liked the cat one.  I also saw  where they are rebuilding an old mosque on the Sahil Road and behind it is a very handsomelu renovated old Ottoman building.




One day I walked across the Galata Bridge, which even at that early hour was full of men fishing. I did not like that walk, as the men look. I walked across and then walked back.

old and newer in karakoy

One morning I walked down and into Karakoy. It is really starting to change. It has been very gritty for many years, but now there are some upscale cafés. Much to my surprise, I saw there is even a Starbucks now near where the ferries come in. I passed on that and bought some tea so I could sit on a bench and watch the ferries come and go with a backdrop of Topkapi Palace. Lovely.





Another day later in the morning I went with my friend Vickie to book a boat and on the way back we stopped for an orange juice under the trees by the Golden Horn.  We also got to visit with the local rooster and hen. We had also stopped earlier to admire the tomatoes 

and cucumbers growing in a city plant box by the parking lot near the bus stops.  The guys were very proud of them.





hay bales on istiklal?

Another day I was up even earlier, so I walked up to Taksim Square. I had heard that there was going to be construction in Gazi Park, so I walked up to check it out. At one time there had been a barracks there, which supposedly gives a kind of permission for a similar building to be put up there. Right now most of the park is closed and there are several police buses parked there and quite a few police standing around with their guns. There I bought the first tea from a roaming vendor and sat down to watch the traffic on the square. I noticed a scary sculpture of a cat.  Bad!





Then I decided to walk down through Gumussuyu, which at one time was a very elegant neighbourhood. As the road curves towards the bottom, there is a lovely green park. As I started down the stairs I saw some old stairs going nowhere and beyond them a building that seemed to have been turned into a piece of art. I had bought some water from a man further up the stairs and I could hear him calling to me. He told me not to go in further, as there were dogs who would attack me. Ok, that was as far as I went. At the bottom of the hill I crossed over and sat in a yet unopened tea garden right on the Bosporus between Dolmabahce Palace and the mosque. It was very nice and calm to sit by the water and watch the ferries.



An hour makes a big difference on Istiklal Caddesi, I learned. Early on it is sort of the dregs from the night before, with some men sleeping on doorsteps of shops. An hour later the delivery trucks are starting to makes their runs and people are heading to work.

trusting bread delivery



One day when I ended up in Taksim Square I saw two girls in very short skirts and very high heels. This was about 7 a.m. It was hilarious to see how ALL the men were staring at them. There were a lot of taxi drivers standing around following the girls with their eyes. I assume the two girls were working girls finishing the night shift.

And here are some other ran

redone (redoing) stairs at the bottom of haci ali sokak on the way to karakoy

dom photos from my walks.

mystery stairs in gumussuyu



  1. merhaba , hello , i was online looking for jobs and because i typed ‘ cafe jobs in Istanbul ‘ many listings came up along with your cafe ‘Molly’s’ .
    I clicked on you thinking there was job vacancies and was taken aback and i am still here on this page after one hour 🙂 What an amazing place you have and very authentic , and i shall be keeping you in mind when i am in your area as i would love to visit you .

    • sorry wendy, molly’s cafe is a fond memory now. enjoy your time in istanbul

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