From Istanbul, Fashion and Experiences.
Time flies when one travels. I left for Europe on May 3rd and by the time I turned around; I had to get back in LA, three weeks later.
This time I went to Bulgaria and Turkey. In Bulgaria I wanted to see my father and brother, and to have a fountain, and a monument built in our town, in honor of our mother.
Our mother Kalina was a great lady. We wanted her name remembered.
When all the work was completed, we invited relatives and friends for Al fresco dinner at a garden-restaurant that mother used to like. We spent a lovely evening together remembering her.
My next stop was Sofia. To reconnect with my city, I took long walks and visited my most favorite corners; I partied with my friends. I went to our beautiful Alexander Nevski Cathedral and spent a quiet hour in thoughts and prayers.
As it was the Prom time of the year, I went to one of the top hotels in down town Sofia to see what the girls were wearing for their big night.
Oh my; this will take another long writing to explain all that I saw. The explosion of colors and overdone details reminded me of my own Prom. Nothing has changed since 1972.
With my fashion sense disturbed, I left for Istanbul to do my work. I invited father and brother to join me along. I decided to go by car; a good 8 hour drive from Eastern Bulgaria.
That way I was to see a part of my country that I haven’t seen for awhile plus to see the transition from one country to another, which always fascinates me.
I love Istanbul. What an amazing city! A cross road of so many cultures and stark contrasts, it fascinates every visitor. No one is left indifferent; we all surrender to its flair.
The weather was perfect. Walking around Sultanahmet, the old city of Istanbul, sent us back centuries and reminded us of our old towns in Bulgaria. Turkey and Bulgaria are similar in so many ways. The Ottomans concurred and ruled us, after all, for 500 years.
We have a large Muslim population of Turkish decent; we share vocabulary, we enjoy the same food; we even look the same (I’m mistaken for Turkish all the time.) Bulgaria and Turkey fought in wars as enemies and we had numerous political arguments. And yet, when we meet we connect right away in a neighborly manner: Merhaba komsu! Hi my neighbor!
I recommend reading the Ottoman Centuries by Lord Kinross, a fascinating book. It tells the story of the Balkans, in my opinion the most intricate region in Europe; understudied and therefore misunderstood. I learnt a lot and it helped me understand and appreciate the Turkish culture.
Once we explored the Old world, we took a relaxing break on the Bosphorus; we discovered a great fish restaurant right on the water, Bebec Balikci where locals go.
I wanted to get acquainted with the upscale Turkish fashion designers and I knew that I had to go to Nisantasi, the most sophisticated retail area of Istanbul. I left father and brother to continue their tour of the city. Father was happy that he had a chance to practice Turkish as he’s fluent in that language.
I’ve been in Istanbul many times before. This time I was truly amazed and excited to see that their designers made such a progress. It didn’t take me long before I started shopping for ZVEZDA.
The pieces that I selected were the very best that the Turkish fashion market had to offer. I managed to contact the designers and introduce myself. All were very excited to be working with us in the future.
Exploring Nisantasi, I came across the fantastic Sufi jewelry house.
You can visit www.zvezdathestore.com -New Arrivals, for more details.
The next day, all broke but excited, I gathered my troops and we made our swift exodus out of Istanbul. Had I stayed one more day, I would have had to put my house in LA on the market, to be able to pay the bills.
As I was driving out of the city, I turned around for one last glimpse of Istanbul. Then I floored the accelerator and made a long, speedy journey home to Bulgaria.