The fortune teller in Istanbul, a coffee and my future


“This is not a holiday for you. You’re here for work.” My jaw drops and I stare at the woman who’s facing me and then focuses again on my coffee grounds. Uhm, okay. I have to admit that I didn’t expect this. Does she maybe, like for real, without kidding, know what the future holds for me?

You have to know: I do have a voodoo doll, wrote an exam in sociology about voodoo, but this one time in New Orleans I didn’t had the guts to go to a fortune teller. Once I interviewed a parapsychologist for TV but hid myself behind the camera as I didn’t wanted her to tell me more about my ghosts. And yes, I do own tarot cards (although I have no idea where they are at the moment) and in my early twenties I thought they were as amusing as horoscopes in magazines. So yes, I really think this whole thing is kind of interesting but every time when it got down to the nitty-gritty I chickened out. Until now. Until I’ve met a fortune teller in Istanbul.

fortune teller in istanbul

Unsuspectingly I stroll along İstiklal Caddesi, take a picture here and there and think to myself: that’s so much like Kurfürstendamm in Berlin when my friend Buket tells me as a sideline about the fortune tellers in the side streets. And I still have no idea why, but in this very moment I knew I wanted to know my fortune.

fortune teller in istanbul

Only a few minutes later we’re sitting in one of the many cafés in one of the side streets of İstiklal Caddesi, the radio is tuned to noisy disco pop. We were the only one. Here a Turkish coffee costs you around €5. That’s no rip-off but a loophole the fortune teller found to offer their services. Because actually fortune telling is illegal in Turkey. So instead of paying them for their service you’re paying a bit more for your coffee.

fortune teller in istanbul

To be honest: I don’t like the Turkish coffee that much. But with Latte Macchiato the fortune telling won’t work. There’s no coffee grounds and without coffee grounds no fortune telling – at least in Turkey. That’s why I have to drink the whole coffee cup until it feels crumbly in my mouth. Then you put the saucer on the cup, turn it a few times in a clockwise direction, breathe a wish and then flip the whole thing upside down. To enforce the wish you can put a small coin on the cup.

fortune teller in istanbul

Then we’re waiting. And I get nervous. Did I do everything in the right order? Should I have thought about another wish? What will she tell me? We’re waiting. The fortune teller has time when the fortune teller has time, until then you have to wait. After a few minutes we’re brought to another room, there are pictures of angels and Salvador Dali hanging on the walls. And there she is. Actually I expected an old woman. I guess she’s in her late thirties, wears a tank top and drinks Cappuccino. She looks at me sharply and then even more sharply at the saucer. Then into the cup. She tells me this and that. Some things from my past, which are half-true, some things from my present, which are very very true, and some things from my future, which might be true. We will see. If these things will happen, and she was talking about things happening this autumn and in February next year, I will tell you. But until then I will keep them secret, because you know, isn’t it like this that wishes don’t come true if you tell someone about it? Until then you have to be patient. Just like me.

fortune teller in istanbul

You also want to meet a fortune teller in Istanbul now?

Go to one of the side streets of  İstiklal Caddesi, look for signs like angel pictures or “tarot” in the windows. Best would be to bring someone who speaks Turkish as most fortune tellers in Istanbul don’t speak English.

Have you been to a fortune teller before? Do you believe in stuff like this?

Hi, I'm Yvonne. Travel addict. Guilty as charged. Right now I'm probably falling off a camel somewhere in a desert, getting a new tattoo from a monk in Thailand or am carrying my luggage through a river in the jungle. But just as well I could be sitting on my sofa in Berlin, in my pyjamas. Good girls to to heaven, bad girls go everywhere. Everywhere sounds much more promising. So be travelous and follow me!

Discussion23 Comments

  1. late thirties, wears a tank top and drinks Cappuccino – not what I’d have expected from a fortune teller either. I’d expect a very old woman, dressed in long flowing black skirts, scarf around the head, etc… thought it was their uniform. I hope she told you only good things will come and I certainly hope they do. 🙂

    • Yvonne

      Exactly my thought! To be honest: I was a bit dissapointed that she was that young and cool 😀 and yes, only good things – although some things are kind of irritating. But we will see 😀

  2. I got my tarot cards read once, but honestly I don’t even remember what I was told so I couldn’t really tell if it was accurate or not. This looks like fun at least, and really 5 euros for a fortune doesn’t seem like a bad deal for a few minutes of entertainment (at least).

    • Yvonne

      haha, I also already forgot some of the stuff she told me. Just remember the important things (for me)… And yes, even if you don’t believe in it it’s really entertaining!

  3. I once visited India, i meet a pandit(fortune teller) their you won’t believe he told me many things about my past exactly like my profession my college life and give advice for my future and some of them really been helpful to me.I don’t know what is all about but have to believe.

    • Yvonne

      yes, to quote Shakespeare: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  4. Istanbul is such an intoxicating city with so much to offer – though I must admit that this is something that I had not considered. Thank you for sharing the story – so beautifully described. This adventure is too wonderful not to share!

    • Yvonne

      I knew about the fortune telling in Turkey but I never thought there would be cafés you can go to. Always thought it would be more a between friends and family thing. I’m really glad my friend told me so I had the chance to experience it myself.

  5. It took you to Istambul to meet a fortune teller eh? 🙂 I got mine read as well from some gypsies but they were quite generic and not entirely accurate. Hope the Istambul fortune tellers are better.

  6. yes i believe in fortune telling. i believe it is a gift. i have had mine done with tea leaves, tarot cards, had my palm read and one lady outside of town here did readings, and a few weeks ago i had a reading done here where i live.i think it is all interesting,and a lot of fun

  7. I am the most skeptical person you can ever meet, but I had my fortune read in Istanbul by a friend of a friend just for fun and well… What she told me literally made to start to question my entire life…

    She told me something about myself that not even my closest friends know, and not something that could ever be guessed either.

    I still don’t say I believe in fortune telling yet but… That girl (a very young girl btw) definitely knew some things about me that she shouldn’t have.

  8. Hey I really enjoyed your post. I know what you mean when you say you’re scared to find out your fortune.

    I certainly am but I guess if we really want to know then we should do it then right? I am going to there in a couple of weeks so I am going to check it out for sure.

  9. Hi , I’m in Istanbul at the moment and I’m reaaalllyyy eager to get a reading, coffee, palm whatever. Anyone know a place or person trust worthy and English speaking?

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