What You Should Know About Being A Black Woman In Istanbul
MadameNoire has teamed up with Black Girl Fly to bring you profiles of Black girls taking travel to new heights. Each week we’ll profile a new lady, giving you the details on her latest adventure and everything you should know about being a fly Black girl abroad.
Black Girl Fly: Tammy Freeman
Home city: I’m originally from Queens, NY but I currently reside in Northern Virginia.
Why Turkey? I stopped in Turkey on my way to Italy. Going and coming from Italy I elected for an overnight layover in Istanbul, and I’m so glad I did.
Travel companion? Solo traveler
Length of Stay: 2 days (1 day en route to Italy, 1 day en route from Italy to DC)
How much was your flight? Around $800, but I was flying to Naples, Italy. Flights to Turkey as a final destination are a bit less.
How much was boarding? FREE! (I’m doing a blog post on this specifically soon)
First thing you felt when you stepped out of the airport
Many airports in major cities look the same so there was nothing that jumped out at me that made me say “wow, this is different.” I was stopped by undercover Turkish police for an additional bag search, which was…interesting. I remember being on the shuttle to my hotel and sitting in traffic and thinking, “this is just like DC or NY!” All major cities have traffic and everyone is a crazy driver!
Best moment of the trip
Navigating the train system to see the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Sultanahmet Square
One thing anyone who goes to Turkey must see
The Blue Mosque is imposing and majestic, also the Hagia Sophia — all located in Sultanahmet Square along with other sites to see. If you only have 24 hours in Istanbul, taking the train to Sultanahmet Square and seeing the many sites and buying locally made baklava is a great way to spend your time and its cheap!
One food/drink travelers must try
Ev Manti. It’s a Turkish ravioli in a yogurt sauce. You can choose to have the ravioli boiled, fried or be served a mix of both. My Ev Manti was stuffed with beef and was absolutely delicious and filling. Turkish tea is also a must, I just love the tea cups they serve it in. For dessert, you can’t leave Turkey without having their traditional dessert, Turkish delight, and of course, baklava!
What should you know about being a Black girl in Turkey?
Being in Istanbul, I’m sure the locals have seen people from nearly every nationality. Even when I was out among the locals, no one seems shocked by me being there. It’s very much like NY, people seemed unbothered by my presence for the most part. Compared with a place, like Asia, where black skin is treated as an anomaly and most act like they’ve never seen a black person before! Turkey was amazing. Great people, a plethora of things to see and do.
I found it safe, warm and inviting. People were super helpful. I speak no Turkish, but everyone worked with me. Pantomime is a universal language!
Would you go back?
Absolutely! There is so much I left unseen. Istanbul is great, but Turkey as a whole has so much to see and do. I want to go back and place one foot in Europe and the other Asia. Turkey is the only place that can be done!
Next destination on your list
Panama and Brazil!
Where can people follow your travel adventures? www.tammyonthego.com