Tag Archives: ice cream

Istiklal Caddesi Made Them Do It, In Istanbul

Istiklal Caddesi

News Editor

Gina Czupka examines the exotic garment most likely to cause buyer’s remorse in “Ugliest pants in the world inexplicably popular with many travelers.” She’s talking about harem pants. (Gina also collects travel guides, so if you have any extra, send them along to her please.) A few years ago, Gina went shopping on Istiklal Caddesi, which seems to be, for shopping and tourist crowds, something like the boardwalk of Venice Beach, California, only it’s in Istanbul, Turkey. She saw many examples of these harem pants and had a very negative reaction. But within a few years, even hippies in Guatemala were wearing the grotesque things. Here’s the skinny on the fat pants:

…often made of jersey or light cotton, that incorporate the volume of fabric needed for a very big, floaty skirt, gathered together in a dropped crotch that sits at about mid-thigh or knee level… They could make Angelina Jolie look bulky and dumpy, and if that’s the case, what chance do the rest of us have…?

Of course, our first thought was: What if we should find ourselves one day in the Beyoglu shopping and entertainment district, on Istiklal Caddesi, tempted to buy a pair of these atrocities? What would we do, to distract ourselves from such a mistake? We started looking around for suggestions, of which their ought to be plenty. After all, in The Third Tower Up From the Road, Kevin describes Istiklal Caddesi as “one of the liveliest streets on the planet. It’s entirely pedestrian, really long, very wide and bursting with life.” So, here are some ideas:

1. Visit the infinitesimally small café called Mandabatmaz, which is just off the main drag, for Turkish coffee like it supposed to be.

2. If you happen to be there between the 3rd and 6th of December 2009, check out Contemporary Istanbul, a convocation of artists, gallery directors, art collectors, art critics, and basically the entire art world.

3. The city just started up something called the Istanbul Design Weekend, so look for it again next year.

4. There’s a gay nightclub on the street, and if you come at the right time of year, there’s the Gay Pride Parade taking over the thoroughfare.

5. Take the advice of Mina Ercel and visit Cremeria Milano for Italian ice cream. The flavors include bitter chocolate, fior di latte, tiramisu and Baileys.

6. Here’s another of those right-time-of-the-year ideas: hit the annual Jazz Festival, and a group like the New Orleans New Wave Brass Band might be playing right there on the street.

7. One of Istanbul’s famous churches, Saint Antoine’s, is also found on Istiklal Caddesi.

After we’ve done all those, if we still feel an irresistible urge to visit the vendor of harem pants, we intend to give in to it.

Harem pants photo courtesy of Idhren , used under this Creative Commons license; Istiklal Caddesi photo courtesy of Salim Virji , used under this Creative Commons license

Big Doings in Quirky Slovenia

Ljubljana Roofs

News Editor

Joseph Stedul, a journalist for Javno, the multimedia news portal that is one of the top 50,000 sites in the world, translated this account of one unwelcome tourist in Slovenia’s capitol city:

The bear that partied on the streets of Ljubljana last week has returned, so for public safety, killing it has been authorized. Even though the bear is not dangerous, more precisely it has not attacked anyone, the relocation has not succeeded, and the authorities consider that they should not risk it, and have decided to eliminate it.

The bear first showed up back in April, hanging around by the zoo. Cherchez, as usual, la femme – a female bear resides there. The visitor was shot with tranquilizer darts and dropped off out in the country. But, unable to resist the lure of Ljubljana, it returned. An official from the Department of Large Animals was quoted as saying, “I advise the hypothesis that the bear did not come from nature at all.”

Then, sadly, the bear was reported to have been shot for real, according to the Slovenian Press Agency.

Earlier this month, the good people of Ljubljana aspired to make history with the construction and consumption of the world’s largest dish of ice cream, 35 meters long (roughly 114 feet). It took a lot of technology, supplied by the Jozef Stefan Research Institute, and the hoped-for outcome is a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

We learn from FemaleFirst’s handy list, “Slovenia – 18 Things You Might Not Know,” that some parts of The Chronicles of Narnia were shot on location in this small but charming country, which is also the home of the world’s oldest vine.

It seems that a Slovenian design firm called Asobi invented this modular seating concept, which is basically a whole lot of very skinny chairs bolted together, however many you want. It makes a wide seat or a narrow seat, with or without a back. However, the Ljubljana chair seems to be available only in white and in a shade of orange that should be outlawed.

We would never have known about this place of more than average interest, if not for Kevin Dolgin, who visited the impressive and rather lyrical Ljubljana Castle and who also greatly admires the red tile roofs and the numerous dragons. Of the latter he reports:

Legend says Ljubljana was founded by Jason (formerly of the Argonauts, before his solo career as Prince of Corinth). According to legend, Jason fled from Colchis and the pursuing King Aeetes … founding Ljubljana on the way (assumedly during a rest stop). There, Jason battled a great monster, which is portrayed as the Ljubljana dragon.

Who would have thought that so much went on in Slovenia?

Ljubljana Dragon

SOURCE: “Bear Returns to Ljubljana, Must Be Killed” 04/23/09
Roofs photo courtesy of UnorthodoxY , used under this Creative Commons license; Dragon photo courtesy of xiquinhosilva , used under this Creative Commons license