Monday, June 09, 2008

Photos to follow but ...

Istanbul has, as usual, been an assault on the senses in the best possible way ...

Yesterday saw us setting out for Heybeliada.
Heybeliada is one of a group of small islands that make up the Princes' Islands and are touted as being a welcome break from the bustle of the city, just a short ferry ride southeast from Istanbul.

But that description in no way prepares you for what you find on this car-less island where horse and carriage rule the roads, where beauty is just how it is.

We walked past both gracious homes from times past when wealthy expatriates settled out on the islands and others more worn down by time. Big and small, with luscious gardens in full bloom. Actually Leon Trotsky lived on the largest of the islands - Buyukada Island - between 1923 and 1933.

Heybeliada is the second largest and home to the imposing former naval high school - Deniz Harp Okulu, built in 1942. The island is also home to a Greek Orthodox School of Theology (1841), with a library still famous amongst Orthodox scholars.

I was stunned by the beauty of the island and may have been heard hatching plans with Lisen about how we could get together and rent a place, the plan being to spend time writing there one day.

And of course ... a couple of hundred photographs were taken during our stroll through village streets and up over the hill in a loop that bought us back down into the main township area to lunch by the Marmara Sea.

Lunch ..
One of the best things about returning to Istanbul has to be Turkish food. Yesterday I chose the kuzu sis (lamb shish kebap) while the others made happy noises about their kofte (meatballs). We shared a huge bowl of salad and another of bread, choosing Efes beer to wash it down while sitting out there in the sun.

Today has been all about walking the city ... metro to Taksim Square, a stroll down Istiklal caddesi, on down the narrow winding road to Galata Tower for that 360 degree view out of over Istanbul.

On down and across Galata Bridge, into Eminonu, onto the tram and up the hill into Sultanahmet for some more of the 'best ever' kofte, with pilav (rice) this time.

Tonight we're waiting for an old Istanbul friend and colleague to arrive so this isn't my best effort but anyway, Kagan was my walking friend on occasion, other times he and Fusun shared their family celebrations with me ... end of Ramadan feasts and an extended family sweet bayram holiday in Ankara too.

It will be good to see them again. Ege, an old college student met us for coffee this afternoon and that was just so good. He's immersed in French now ... my Yeni Zelanda English was a challenge one day before an important oral examination in French.

And Erkan, I didn't mention how good it was to catch up with Erkan on Friday night! I'm seeing him again Thursday for an interview, then Abdul on Wednesday but that's all ahead.

I guess it's clear - alles goed here in Istanbul city.

1 comment:

furiousBall said...

boy if you have any pictures of islands called Princes Islands, my little girl would love a print :)