Wonderfully upbeat, totally accomodating, willing to put up with 40 degree heat, Merve guided me along the Bosphorus from Besikas to Bebek, giving me a little history, local gossip, companionship, and tons of snacks. A great introduction to some of the less touristy but beautiful areas of Istanbul.
The touristy areas of Istanbul are... painful at times. Merve can help you remember why you wanted to go there in the first place. She is a living Rough Guide, but so wondefully kind and giving and... so Turkish that she makes you feel like you are a part of the family. I feel guilty--I think I took from her far more than she took from me. Show Merve love!
The European side of Istanbul can get touristy so it's best to go with someone like Merve who can show you cool spots and share the stories behind them.