My experience of our trip to Istanbul was transformed by this tour with Duygu. At one point, when we were spending a lot of time at one spot, I expressed concern about that, and Duygu said not to worry, that we would finish the tour no matter how long it took. I didn't really time the tour after that, but I can say that we did finish the tour, and we were relaxed and enjoyed every artisan we visited.
There was no mention of us buying anything anywhere. I did buy a beautiful small glass vase at the glass making place, which was not expensive. The man there did a demonstration for us, which happened at several places. Sometimes we talked about the political situation as well as the crafts they were doing. All of them were glad to see Duygu and us, and they were friendly and welcoming, including one place where the man treated us with tea.
We visited a man restoring tin interiors to copper bowls for a restaurant, a glass craftsman, father and son wood carvers, a woman who makes a Turkish musical intrument, a metal artist, a man who gold leafs frames and furniture, and an architect who is restoring a large, interior court area and former orphanage to be a ... we'll have to go back to see! He showed us many things including beautiful architectural features that he has collected over the years. There were three similar things he was not sure of, and I was able to identify them as parts of stations of the cross from a Catholic church. That was a special encounter for me, and there were several such.
The last artisan we visited was not in when we got there, so while we waited for him to return to his shop, we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant that Duygu knew. It was excellent. We returned there a few days later and had another delicious meal.
Duygu is quite knowledgeable and informative. She is a gentle spirit who is well received by the people we visited. She freely shares her knowledge and gladly answered all our questions about the city.
If I return to Istanbul, I might do this same tour again. I would certainly do another tour with Duygu.
STEVE B / TRIPADVISOR
• January 19, 2016