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The Grand Albania Journey

Me and my dear friend Marsel made a big trip around Albania with his new second hand car. Here are some selected pictures from the whole trip. We have been in Tirana, Vlora, Kruje, Lushnje, Sarande, Berat, Gjirokaster and Delvine… Albania is much enjoyable when you have a great travel buddy like Marsel and with no design problems to solve.

Arnavutluktan i arkada覺m Marsel ikinci el bir araba alm覺. Tabi ki bu arabay覺 kutlamak gerekiyordu. Biz de arabayla birlikte arnavutluu kar覺 kar覺 gezeceimiz b羹y羹k bir tura 癟覺kt覺k. Tirana, Vlora, Kruje, Lushnje, Sarande, Berat, Gjirokaster ve Delvine’e gittik. Zaman zaman ev kiralad覺k arada g羹zel yer bulunca kamp att覺k. Muhteem ge癟ti. Tamamen 繹zg羹r, can覺m覺z ne istiyorsa onu yapt覺覺m覺z koca bir hafta. 襤l癟 gibi geldi ila癟 襤te o yolculuktan se癟mece baz覺 fotoraflar. Umar覺m seversiniz.

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Vlora is the Albania version of 襤zmir I guess. It’s chill, hot, relaxed city with warm people.

Vlora san覺r覺m buran覺n 襤zmir’i. S覺cak, neeli, rahat insanlar覺n yaad覺覺 ne tam yazl覺k ne tam ehirlemi arada bir yer.

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It is not so hard to reach from one city to other in Albania, It’s not a huge country. So it doesn’t take very long time to travel in between cities.

Arnavutluk 癟ok b羹y羹k bir 羹lke say覺lmaz. O y羹zden ehirler aras覺 s羹r羹lerimiz 癟ok uzun s羹rm羹yor. Genelde 1-2 saatlik s羹r羹lerle bir ehirden 繹tekine ge癟mi oluyorsunuz.

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Just sit here for a while and do nothing. Nothing at all.

Mesela burada oturup hi癟 bir ey yapmad覺覺m覺 hat覺rl覺yorum ve bu harikayd覺.

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Rafting was one of our adrenaline sessions here in Albania.

Marsel zavall覺m benim adrenalin ba覺ml覺l覺覺m覺 yat覺t覺rmak i癟in 癟eitli 繹nerilerle gelmeyi ihmal etmedi. Bunlardan biri de raftingdi.

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Streets ofGjirokaster looks so moody. I felt like I’m not in 2016 but some other time from history.

Gjirokaster, Arnavutlukta en kendine has, 繹zg羹n ve kimlikli olan ehirdi diyebilirim. Eer bu ilkeyi ziyaret ederseniz Tiran’覺n 癟irkinliinden ka癟覺p buraya s覺覺nabilirsiniz.

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Coast in Sarande.

Sarande’nin k覺y覺s覺

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Sarande is a typical summer city. Like Antalya in Turkey. This is the terrace we had there. A huge place with spectacular view in the city. Lovely times.

Sarande’de san覺r覺m buran覺n Antalya’s覺 oluyor. Tabi bu ehirler bizim 80′lerdeki halimiz gibiler. Buralar 癟ok geliecek ve yak覺n zamanda inan覺lmaz fiyatlara inan覺lmaz bir emlak piyasas覺 oluacak. u an ortam bizim i癟in uygun say覺l覺r. Dolay覺s覺yla gidip denizin tam 繹n羹nde en 羹st katta terasl覺 bir daire kiralad覺m. 襤te bu da manzaras覺.

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Shooting in poligon was another stress killer for us.

At覺 poligonu en elenceli anlardan biriydi. S覺kt覺覺m her kurunun 1 euro deerinde olmas覺 biraz can yak覺yordu ama olsun. Bunu da yapmal覺yd覺k.

Here I go to Albania (again)

I had amazing times in Albania and had great friends around back in 2014. Tirana was my last city to work before I give a break to Designer on the road journey and head back home after 3 years of epic traveling. This time I went for a week vacation just for full time traveling, not working.

Arnavutluk 3 senelik muhteem bir yolculuun eve d繹nmeden 繹nceki son dura覺yd覺 benim i癟in. 23 羹lkede 55 k羹s羹r ehir gezdikten sonra Tiran’a gelip 1 ay orada 癟al覺m覺 ve harika arkadalar edinmitim. Marsel’de onlar覺n ba覺nda geliyordu. Bayram tatilinde madem yak覺n gidelim Marsel’le u 羹lkeyi 癟al覺madan adam gibi boydan boya bi gezelim sada solda kamp atal覺m dedik. 襤te bu da videosu. Keyifli seyirler…

My house! As a project of architecture students

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I was in Albania – Tirana some time ago to make a talk with design and architecture students of Polis University. Some time later I had a surprising e-mail from one of the students :) Young architects Julia Janku and Davis Hoxha was asking to work for one of my dreams. A loft house specially design for me! So they have chosen me to work on for their diploma project in the University. After asking some questions on what are my needs in the a house and discussing the things I would like to have in the house. They just disappeared for months! First they located the place for the house in Tirana city. Then they started to think and plan for a long time to combine my brief with the actual place. Here is the final result they just send me after passing with class and graduate with the highest mark possible. And I am super happy that these two young architects just made my dream visible. Now we have the place, we have the project and we know what to do. Only the missing part is money to make all these things real. It turns out that I have to work and save harder to make it happen… :)

Arnavutluk, Tiran’da bulunan Polis Universitesinde konuma yapmaya gittiimde 繹rencilerle harika zaman ge癟irmi ve 癟ok elenmitik. Bir s羹re sonra mimarl覺k b繹l羹m羹 繹rencileri Julia Janku ve Davis Hoxha’dan ilgin癟 bir e-mail ald覺m. Gen癟 mimarlar覺n diploma projesi olarak etkilendikleri biri i癟in ev tasarlamalar覺 gerekiyormu ve bilin bakal覺m kimi se癟miler :) Fikri duyar duymaz 癟ok heyecanland覺m ve gurur duydum. stelik bu yarat覺c覺 mimarlar覺n bana nas覺l bir ev tasarlayacaklar覺n覺 merakla bekliyordum. nce uzun bir brief s羹reci yaad覺k. Ben Julia’ya nas覺l evlerden holand覺覺m覺, isteklerimi ve g羹ndelik hayat覺mdaki ihtiya癟lar覺m覺 anlatt覺m. O da bunlar覺 uzun uzun not ald覺. Sonras覺nda aylarca haber alamad覺覺m bu ikiliyi arada bi eyler g繹stermeleri konusunda darlasam da hi癟 bilgi s覺zd覺rmad覺lar. 襤in sonunda da dersi en y羹ksek puanla ge癟ip mezun olmular. Ben eve bay覺ld覺m. Bulduklar覺 mekan Tiran’da iki bina aras覺nda s羹per dar ama derinlii uzun olan bir arsa. Evi b繹ylesine 癟覺lg覺n bir alana kurabilmek i癟in ilgin癟 bir mimari proje haz覺rlam覺lar. Oyun odam bir konteyn覺r. S羹per teras覺m, evin i癟inde ufak bir ormanc覺覺m var. Yatak odamdan manzara ahane. Daha ne olsun! Cans覺n Janku ve tabi ki Davis! ok teekk羹r ederim. imdi b羹lyonlar覺 toplay覺p bu evi yapt覺rmak da benim iim olsun.

Be the good river

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Some examples of my early designs for the traffic campaign of Albania.

Arnavutluktaki trafik kampanyas覺 i癟in yapt覺覺m 癟al覺malar覺n taslaklar覺ndan…

An extra job.

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This is a banner I did for a friend. The guy in the reception desk in my hostel asked for a banner from me. He heard that I am a designer somewhere and he told me that he need a banner for next day. That night I was already half dead and sick of computer screen but I did it for him. He printed it next day and used it in the protest. He told me it was the coolest banner in whole event :)

Arnavutlukta kald覺覺m hostelin resepsiyonunda g繹revli 癟ocuk nas覺lsa benim grafik tasar覺mc覺 olduumu duymu ve ertesi g羹n kat覺laca覺 protesto i癟in benden bir banner istedi. Bast覺r覺p y羹r羹y羹e gidecekmi. Helal dedim keke ben de gelsem ama 繹len iteyim. Ancak akama kat覺labildim o y羹r羹y羹e. Elemana da banner覺 o gece yapt覺m hemen. :) Asl覺nda gelip kafay覺 vuracakt覺m. Yolda da s覺r覺ls覺klam olmutum. Hi癟 bilgisayar a癟as覺m yokru ama gen癟leri desteklemek laz覺m. Arnavutluk tarihinin ilk halk protestosuydu bu ve ben de i癟indeydim. Hem fiziken hem de tabelamla.

What about tirana?

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Well Tirana is not a super big city to travel. You may see everything in 3 days but I stayed there 3 weeks. So I experienced quite good about the city and the culture. Here are some facts you better know before you visit this interesting small city.

In Tirana you will see most of the places, shops and even the pharmacies are always open and available. You can find nice and stylish bars in the city and nice cocktails. The good part is they are quite cheap. I mean I didn’t even drink much beer because of the prices of cocktails. They are 3 times cheaper comparing to bars in Istanbul. As a Turkish person you may hear a lot of Turkish words in Albanian language. These similarities in language and food may be a good thing depending on your mood. There are a lot of fake brands in Albania since there is no Mc donald’s or KFC branch. Bad traffic is a famous thing here in Albania but I have seen worse situations. India, Vietnam and some others can race with Albania. The main problem in Albania is people don’t respect each other on the road. In 1995, drivers in the Albanian city of Shkodra refused to pay a new traffic-light tax on the grounds that their city had no traffic lights.I was also working for a traffic awareness campaign still in progress for the Albanian government. Another interesting information is Albania is the world’s first atheist country. All the churches and mosques are shut down during leadership of Enver hoca. He forced people to forget about religion and only worship and believe on him.Albania is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. It is tied at 113 out of 176 with Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Niger on the corruption index.For about 10 years (1968-1978) , Albanias only ally in the world was China. After China, Albania had no allies and was basically a more isolated European North Korea until 1991. To me Albania is a nice interesting country but need some more time and effort to fix some things up. Sometimes you see very basic things missing in daily life while you can find much more complex stuff as a standard in the city. It’s interesting they always ask you what kind of tea you want when you order a tea. Usually they don’t fill the glass to the top, coffee is more popular and tea is not for everybody. Usually they drink very small glasses of coffee like expresso and so on… It’s hard to find high quality souvenirs except the wine you see at right picture. It’s one of the greatest wines of all times and I had one for a good price. People are very warm and friendly. Actually without them I could be pretty bored in Tirana in 3 weeks since there is no much activity to do in winter time. It’s been a nice trip to Tirana, meeting with all these amazing people and working with them. Specially Marsel! Thanks for everything bro! See you in Istanbul soon.

Tirana 癟ok b羹y羹k bir ehir say覺lmaz. Muhtemelen burada 3 g羹n ge癟irseniz her bir yeri g繹rebilirsiniz. Bense burada tam 3 hafta yaad覺m. Haliyle ehri g羹zelce sindirmek i癟in fazlaca zaman覺m oldu. 襤te benden tespitler ya da baz覺 ilgin癟 bilgiler.

Tirana’da d羹kkanlar hatta eczaneler bile 癟ok ge癟 saatlere kadar a癟覺k kal覺yor. ehirde g羹zel barlar bulabilirsiniz. Benim favorim “Radio” adl覺 mekand覺r. Kokteyller 癟ok ucuzdur. T羹rkiye’de 15-20 tl vereceiniz i癟kilere burada 3-5 tl verip g繹n羹l rahatl覺覺yla sarho olmak 癟ok keyifli bir eydir. Arnavutca’da T羹rk癟e bir 癟ok kelime olmas覺 kiisel tercihinize g繹re iyi de gelebilir k繹t羹 de olabilir. Ev hasreti 癟eken bana yemekler ve dildeki baz覺 benzerlikler iyi gelmiti. Biraz daha evde hissetmenizi sal覺yor. Arnavutluk Mc donald’s ve KFC gibi Amerikan fast food zincirlerini bulamayaca覺n覺z 3 羹lkeden biri. Ho hepsinin 癟akmas覺 var ama kendileri hen羹z yok. Trafik buradaki en k繹t羹 olaylardan biri olarak g繹r羹l羹yor. A癟覺kcas覺 ben daha k繹t羹lerini g繹rd羹m. Vietnam ve Hindistan bu konuda Arnavutluu 癟ok daha normal b覺rakabilirler. Arnavutluktaki tek sorun biraz sayg覺s覺z ve aceleci s羹r羹 tarz覺 olabilir. Kemer takmaksa hak getire. Ben de h羹k羹met i癟in y羹r羹tt羹羹m羹z bir trafik bilgilendirme kampanyas覺 i癟in 癟al覺m覺t覺m ki hala s羹r羹yor. Bir baka ilgin癟 bilgiyse Arnavutluun Enver hoca’n覺n lider olduu komunist d繹nemde d羹nyan覺n ilk ve tek ateist 羹lkesi olmas覺. Enver hoca’n覺n dinleri yasaklay覺p kiliseleri ve camileri kapatmas覺ndaki as覺l nedense dinlere deil halk覺n sadece kendisine tapmas覺n覺 ve kay覺ts覺z arts覺z itaat etmelerini istemesiymi. Yolsuzluun en 羹st noktada olduu 羹lkelerden biri olan Arnavutluk’ta ilgin癟 olan bir dier eyse baz覺 basit eylerin hala ortal覺kta yokken 癟ok daha komplike eylerin standart olmas覺. Daha trafik levhalar覺 bile tam olmayan bir 羹lkede bisiklet yollar覺n覺n ve bisiklet kiralama istasyonlar覺n覺n gayet d羹zene oturmu olmas覺 beni hayli a覺rtm覺t覺 mesela. ay istenince nas覺l 癟ay diye sorulmas覺 ve basit bir 癟ay覺 istemenin uzun bir sohbete d繹n羹mesi ya da 癟ay覺n yar覺s覺 bo bir bardakta getirilmesi biraz sinir bozucu bir eydi ayr覺ca kahveyi k羹癟羹c羹k expressolar olarak i癟iyorlar. 2 saniyede bittii i癟in benim i癟in keyifsiz bir durum. 襤nsanlar genel olarak arkada canl覺s覺 ve iyiler. Zaten 繹yle olmasa 3 hafta burada delirebilirdim. Arnavutlua 繹zellikle yaz d繹nemi gitmek daha uygun olabilir. K覺覺n hem fazla souk hem de zaten az olan aktivite say覺s覺 iyice aa覺 d羹羹yor diyebilim.

About Tirana

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This is the bridge where you can buy any kind of books. If it is not rainy, you can see hundreds of books here everyday. It looks amazing.

Eer yamurlu bir g羹n deilse bu k繹pr羹de aynen b繹yle y羹zlerce kitap g繹receksiniz. Her g羹n kitaplarla donat覺lan bu k繹pr羹 yol 羹st羹nde bir a癟覺khava k羹t羹phane gibi.

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City museum. Tell a lot about the history of Albania. Architecture, items used in old times and even old weapons used in the wars can be seen here.

ehir meydan覺nda bulunan bu m羹zede Arnavutluk mimarisinden sanat覺na, g羹nl羹k yaam k覺yafetlerinden eyalar覺na her eyin 繹rneini g繹zlemlemek d繹nem d繹nem g繹rmek m羹mk羹n.

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Some more scenes from the museum.

M羹zeden g繹r羹nt羹ler.

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A street when I was going back to my hostel to drop my bag in white night. White night is the night when Albanians celebrate the independence day. They have 2 independence day actually. One is for leaving the Ottoman Empire. Other is for sending Germans from their territory. In white night, all the bars are open till morning and most of the cultural activities are half price or free. Opera, theater, cinemas and concerts are all open with special prices as well as bars and clubs.

Arnavutluun kurtulu g羹n羹nde otele d繹n羹p 癟antay覺 b覺rakmak i癟in y羹r羹rken telefonumdan 癟ektiim bir fotoraf bu. 襤ki g羹n 羹st羹ste ba覺ms覺zl覺k g羹n羹 kutlan覺yor. Biri Osmanl覺 imparatorluundan ayr覺l覺lar覺 繹b羹r羹yse Alman ordusunu topraklar覺ndan def etmeleri i癟in kutlan覺yor. 襤lgin癟tir ikisinin aras覺nda y覺llar dahi olsa ayn覺 ay ve pe pee gelen tarihlerde olmu olaylar. Kas覺m ay覺n覺n 28′i ve 29′u Arnavutlukta ba覺ms覺zl覺覺 kutlama g羹nleri. Bu ayn覺 zamanda iyi parti g羹nleri de demek. 羹nk羹 bu iki g羹n white night olarak biliniyor ve hayat hi癟 durmuyor. Sinemalar, konserler, tiyatrolar ve m羹zeler ya bedava ya da indirimli servis veriyorlar. T羹m bu kurumlar barlar ve diskolarla birlikte sabaha kadar 癟al覺覺yor.

Trip to Durres

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I was super excited because I was in my last weekend in Albania and I was about to move back home after 3 years of traveling. We started the day with Marcel, Ariel and Blondie 2.

Arnavutluk’taki son haftasonu heyecanl覺yd覺m. Sonunda eve gidecek olman覺n rahatl覺覺 ile ajanstan arkadalarla buluup bir sabah kahvesiyle g羹ne balad覺k.

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And we decided to move “Durres” another city next to Tirana. It takes one hour drive from Tirana. We jumped to a minibus and walked around in the city firstly.Durres is the second largest city of Albania located on the central Albanian coast, about 33 km west of the capital Tirana. It is one of the most ancient and economically significant cities of Albania

Gittiimiz yer Durres adl覺 Tirana’n覺n 1 saat kadar uza覺nda bir baka ehir. Peki buraya neden geldik? Buras覺 deniz kenar覺 bir liman kenti. Hatta Arnavutluun en b羹y羹k liman覺 da burada. Deniz 羹r羹nleri yiyip g羹zel araplar i癟mek i癟in Arnavutluk’ta bi癟ilmi kaftan.

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I smelled warm fresh “borek” around the shops. There were many borek shops next to each other and I wanted to take a piece before we make our way to the sea food restaurant. However my friends didn’t trust them much and looked for another borek shop which is more trustable for them. Anyway then we visited some of the famous places of Durres. One of them is this old amphitheater.

Durres’e vard覺覺m覺zda ilk iimiz saa sola biraz y羹r羹mekti. nce 繹nemli yerleri ziyaret ettik. Fotoraftaki anfi tiyatro bunlardan birisiydi. A癟覺k癟as覺 Durres size wow dedirtecek bir yer deil. Gelimemi ve biraz s覺radan. Ama g羹zel arkadalar olunca her yer neeli. nemli olan etraftaki kiiler oldu hep benim i癟in. Etraf deil.

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This sculpture is for a hero soldier from the world war 2 era. It’s a Russian soldier who went to German border and told them Russians will attack at night secretly. Germans got the news from him but then they killed him as well.

Sada g繹r羹nen heykel hemen hemen her kominist ge癟mili 羹lke ehrinde bulunan bir asker heykelidir. Bu asker ikinci d羹nya sava覺 s覺ras覺nda Alman s覺n覺r覺n覺 ge癟ip Almanlara, Ruslar覺n gece gizlice sald覺r覺p herkesi 繹ld羹receini haber veren bir askerin hikayesi. Almanlar haberi al覺yor ve sava etiini 繹nemseyen bu kahraman askeri de 繹ld羹r羹p Ruslar覺 beklemeye koyuluyorlar.

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This is the restaurant we ate fishes and calamaris with my friends. Lovely food with lovely people…

G羹zel insanlarla g羹zel yemek kadar insan覺 mutle edecek ka癟 ey olabilir?

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This is probably one of the cutest and smallest towers of the world. It’s a part of the Durres castle.The castle was build by Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Anastasius I who originated from Durres. At the time Anastasius made the city as one of the most fortified cities on the Adriatic. Repairs to walls have been carried out after the devastating earthquake of 1273. Currently medieval walls nearly 4.6 meters in height and three entrances of some fortification towers preserved in nearly one-third of the initial length of the city castle… It turns to a bar at night time (only in summer).

Solda Durres kalesinin bir par癟as覺n覺 g繹r羹yorsunuz. Muhtemelen d羹nyan覺n en k羹癟羹k kulesi olabilir. Yaz覺n bir bar olarak kullan覺lan bu kulecik k覺覺n pek bir ie yaram覺yor gibi. 襤癟ine girmek falan da m羹mk羹n deildi.

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While we were walking around next to sea. We discovered a mini theme park and sure we gave a ride!

Deniz kenar覺nda tatl覺 tatl覺 y羹r羹rken kefettiimiz bu k羹癟羹k lunapark bizi 癟ocukluumuza g繹t羹rd羹.

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It was hell of a ride :) I drove one of these when I was a small kid in Bursa Lunapark.

Bu aletlere son bindiimde Bursa lunapark覺nda k羹癟羹k bir 癟ocuktum.

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Racing with Marcel. It was good fun.

Marcel ile k羹癟羹k bir yar覺c覺k. arp覺an arabalardan go kart yap覺l覺r m覺 onu denedik :)

Bye bye Connext

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Creative department of Connext Tirana. Levin, me and Marsel. Today it’s my last office day here and for sure I will miss these guys. We had such nice times together. These pictures are some of the photos we were taking daily. I don’t reallyremember how it started but we just keep taking one picture everyday. It looks like the green lollipop effected us in time. We should quit that thing.Anyway, thanks a lot for all your friendship and warmness. Never forget me dudes and see you in Turkey.

Bug羹n ofiste son g羹n羹m. Marcel ve Levin’le bu ofiste g羹zel elenmiiz 繹yle bir bak覺yorum da 3 hafta ne h覺zl覺 ge癟iverdi. Bu 癟ocuklar覺 繹zleyeceim. Neyse ki Marsel yak覺nda bir T羹rkiye yolculuu d羹羹n羹yor. Onu yak覺nda tekrar g繹receim. u her g羹n 癟ektiimiz fotolara biraz da Istanbul’da devam ederiz. :) Arnavutluk ilgin癟 bir tecr羹be oldu. 3 hafta buras覺 i癟in 癟ok uzun bir s羹re asl覺nda. Neyse ki g羹zel insanlarlayd覺m da nas覺l ge癟tiini anlamad覺m. 襤 temposu da 癟ok youn deildi. Hatta kendi ilerime eilme vakti bile buldum. Sakin, bol bol d羹羹n羹p plan program yaparak hayaller kurarak ge癟irdim burada zaman覺m覺. Tiran dediin ey sonu癟ta 3 g羹nde bitiyor. 3 hafta g羹zel soyutlan覺p sakinledim buralarda. Hadi istanbul’da g繹r羹羹r羹z.

Reflections to my inbox

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Some reflections I found in my inbox after the presentation I had in Polis architecture and Design University. I feel awesome! Thanks dudes and dudettes!

Ge癟en g羹n Polis tasar覺m ve mimarl覺k okulunda yapt覺覺m sunumdan sonra 繹rencilerden ald覺覺m harikal覺 d繹n羹lerden baz覺lar覺.