I’ve been wondering what is so charming about Istanbul.
In every man I see my grandpa.
Conservative in self expression. In the use of color and patterns, in conversation, in smiles, in dance. The eyes become more keen to small shifts, for the expression exists, between the call to prayer and our next cup of cay.
Muted, overcast days give us the permission to nap into the night.
Cool hallways keep us cozied in our small room where daylight is allowed, or not allowed, depending on our motives.
The woman in the pastry shop, big sweater, slices our guilt in four and hands them over glass display cases of cold and savory pastries. We learn fast, and eat in jackets, scarves, hats. The bounds between inside and outside are minimal, and you will feel winter in Istanbul. You won’t erase it with heaters.
I love this.
The sun sets behind the ships that slowly move shipping containers into the sea. A bunny is used as a toy for passing families and men wander up the coast selling cay, hands in pockets, ears in hats & hoods. Don’t look from the sun, one distraction, and it’s sunk, a tiny red glow. Bright purple and orange lit clouds. We turn our backs to it, and walk the familiar and temporary streets.
Cats sleep and eat, well fed and housed here, keeping the rodents at bay and the tourists entertained.
Big fish play in the wake of the ferry to kadikoy, a daily experience, and one lira simit tease satiated bellies.
Soak it in honey and divide the check by 2.
December in Istanbul is beautiful. Everyone is cozied up in big dark jackets, tucked in scarves, baggy hats and gloves. They walk… but not too fast. Not New York City fast. The cool air welcomes deep sleep and long lazy mornings (for a tourist).
Breakfast of cucumbers, Labne, tomatoes, feta, and cay at a corner shop.
The first few nights we stayed by Galata tower, a great location to wander. We walked all over, up to Taksim and up the water. We watched the fishermen and drank fresh squeezed pomegranate juice. We practiced and practiced and practiced our ‘Tessekur ederum”.
Lots of incredible food. Mantis, Kofte, Doner, Durum, Kepab, Baklava, grape leaves, on and on.
We explored the turkish hamam. A little pricey but a great and unique experience. Entering the hamam that was built in 1550, we are greeted by a man and shown to a dressing room with clothes to change into. We are given wooden (and dangerous) clogs and shown to the large, open, hot room. There is a huge marble slab in the middle of the room, where we lay and sweat for about 40 minutes before we are introduced to the masseuses who walk us to the corners of the room and pour cool water over our heads (thank god). We lay on yet another marble slab and get quick massages and a soapy wash before we return to the central slab and finally relax outside with apple tea (which tastes like hot apple juice).
The last few nights, we’ve been staying on the Asian side, in Kadikoy. Cute bars, fun night life, and beautiful streets of daily life.
I’m really enjoying Istanbul. Beautiful and delicious!
Tomorrow, we move to the Old City for the final few days, then Berlin for me (Amsterdam for Donnie) and home for Christmas!