The most colorful season of the year is officially upon us and therefore there is every reason and more to open up your door to new experiences in the city. This weekend alone, there are activities and events catering to a wide variety of interests and each are either focused on, geared to, organized or inspired by Istanbul's expat community.
This Saturday, April 27, India's traditional Holifest comes to Istanbul for what has become the city's most colorful concept celebration. Taking place at LifePark in Sarıyer, in addition to this festival's famous color-powder throwing tradition, there will be international food, Indian workshops and dance and DJ performances throughout the day. Tickets are TL 95 and available on www.holifest.com.tr.
The following Saturday, May 4, the Holifest concept festival moves to Ankara, where it will be held at the campus of the Middle East Technical University (METU).
Istanbul&I is a volunteer organization founded with the mission of sharing stories from and helping the city's disadvantaged and displaced communities. With hundreds of members from all over the world, Istanbul&I regularly hosts speaking clubs, workshops and cultural events that are open to all and aimed at breaking stereotypes and fostering dialogue among all of the people who call Istanbul home.
On Saturday, April 27, Istanbul&I will be holding a workshop on "Creating Your Social media Strategy," which will be led by Houda Berrada Taşdan, Istanbul&I's own Information and Technology Coordinator, who holds degrees in strategic and digital marketing from the University of Toulouse and Oxford College of Marketing. The workshop will take place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Istanbul&I's center in Karaköy.
Time to learn
At the same location at 4:30 p.m., Istanbul&I will also be hosting a "Sports and Fitness Workshop: Alignment and Body Weight Exercise," which will be the first edition of what is planned to become a continuing event series that will span from group workout sessions at their center in Karaköy to bike rides along the Bosporus. In Saturday's hour-long exercise workshop, which will be led by former Syrian national team basketball player and personal trainer Mahmoud Maktabi, participants will learn about the biomechanics of the muscular system and how to apply this knowledge to fix problems in posture and body alignment, which is crucial to preventing long-term injuries.
In the evening, Istanbul&I will also be hosting their "Introduction to Culture" talk series, which will be a celebration of "Sham El-Nessim," Egypt's ancient festival of spring. Taking place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be traditional food and music as well as the cultural practice of decorating eggs for good tidings in spring. On Tuesday, April 30, Istanbul&I has teamed up with the International Club of Istanbul University to hold their English language ÇayTalks discussion group at the university's Beyazıt campus. Aimed at bringing people of different backgrounds, cultures and perspectives together to share and hear each other's opinions on different topics, this special edition of ÇayTalks will be centered on the theme "Adapting to Change" and will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Sunday, April 28, Time Out Istanbul will be holding their annual 101 Lezzet Festivali, which boasts 101 different flavors from Istanbul and is held at the historical Esma Sultan Yalısı in Ortaköy. A wonderful opportunity to sample the best dishes from the leading restaurants in the city, this is one of the most happening and hip culinary events to usher in spring and discover the vast range of cuisine available in Istanbul. Tickets are TL 250 and available on Biletix and the event takes place from 1 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
How about taking part in a 12-hour puzzle marathon at the Istanbul Naval Museum with Mexico's Emma Gonzales, who holds the title as the fastest puzzle-solver in the world? Taking place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, this will be a unique opportunity to solve puzzles with enthusiasts from all over the world and in a spectacular setting. Registration for the "12-hour Puzzle Marathon" can be done on www.puzzledernegi.com.
Standup Turkey is an English language comedy night that features seven up and coming comedians from all over the world. Now a monthly event, the next edition takes place this Sunday, April 28 at 8 p.m. and is held at BKM Mutfak Çarşı in Beşiktaş. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are TL 45 and available on Biletix or at the door.
A newer addition to the city's English language event series is Istanbul Poetry Slam, which is both a poetry open mic night as well as an English language poetry competition. The event takes place on Sunday, at Kaset Kadıköy from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and starts with an open mic set in which participants can read or recite poems for an audience followed by a poetry slam competition in which poets will compete and a jury will select a winner. Both Standup Turkey and this newer Poetry slam are offshoots of the widely popular Spoken Word Istanbul Open Mic nights, which have been going strong for seven years now and are held every Tuesday evening at Arsen Lüpen in Taksim.
Pop-Up Dinners Istanbul is a themed gourmet dining experience created by Kay, a Singaporean-Dutch expat and former restaurateur, who hosts guests in her home in Cihangir. Always in high demand and frequented by the expat crowd, Kay's dinners are a wonderful experience to try different food and meet people from all over the world. Coming up this Saturday, April 27 Pop-Up Dinners Istanbul will be hosting a dinner centered on the theme of "The Eastern Oriental Express Pop-Up," which will be a four-course meal with dishes from the countries the famous train route goes through such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.