I’ve got four favourite cities, where I want to come back again and again to. You can easily define them by the number of stamps in my passport.
And today, after I’ve arrived in my favourite Istanbul, which I visited numerous times before (don’t even remember the exact number of trips), I’m overwhelmed with old memories and I would love to tell about the walk I made last spring.
What I love to do most in Istanbul is to wander along narrow streets of the city, watching the light playing on different trinkets locals offer for sale. I like to walk along familiar streets, notice new details and enjoy local cuisine in a comfortable cafés.
My trip always starts with my arrival to the Ataturk International Airport. I always fly to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines. And I’ve got lots of stories to tell about this huge airport. For example, about how I missed my flight, because I miscalculated the time needed to get to the hub, or about baggage trolley racing with a sad Israeli woman.
But that’s enough about the airport. I’ve never liked its plastic artificiality in any part of our beautiful planet. I love travelling by air, the feeling of take-off and landing and only then I enjoy the city itself, its distinctive character and tasty food. And I try to bypass the airport as much as possible.
Istanbul, the old city, is magnificent in its all aspects. I like to arrive early in the morning, when shops are still closed, and locals gather with no hurry to discuss latest news and to drink, as a rule, their favourite Turkish tea.
The sun is reluctant to touch upon narrow blocks, and it slowly and gently, although in some places abruptly, high-lights some separate elements, making passers-by squint at first and then enjoy a new spring day.
At some point narrow streets give way to a wide quay – the realm of seagulls and noisy smoky ferries.
There’s Asia on the opposite bank attracting foreigners with its diversity and mystery of traditions. It might be alien for the Europeans, but this is only at first sight. If you open your heart then Asia with all its beauty and singularity will flood your internal self with love.
Bewitched, I’m standing on a ferry and watching a fading shore. I’m leaving Europe behind with my homeland and familiar traditions.
In Istanbul, one can not only see but distinctively feel with heart and soul this dramatic switchover between two cultures.
And although it was only yesterday that I enjoyed Hong-Kong air and beautiful slanted eyes of a woman, it is only now, in Istanbul, I can feel the transfer between two continents.
Right here, feeling piercing spring breeze, amidst noisy seagulls and salty waves.
When I came to Istanbul for the first time, I spent half of the night sitting on the Bosporus coast and looking at Asia. I was listening to the sound of waves and whisper of low speed mighty ships. I was listening to my feelings. What does it feel like to live on the border between two worlds? That day I didn’t know yet I would travel half of the world and get lots of new friends in different parts of our planet.
But it was then, and now Istanbul has absorbed me opening more and more of its aspects with my every next visit. And while during my first trip I was light-handed, taking pictures solely with my iPhone, this time I’ve taken my favourite Fujifilm X-M1, which I described in my post about Hong-Kong, and also Krakow.
Small weight and portability — this is what I was missing during my previous trips to Istanbul. And mobility, of course. When I can drop by some cosy café, drink strong scalding tea with my favourite dessert — Turkish baklava. And of course thanks to modern technologies upload the photo to the mobile phone to post it immediately.
Istanbul is the city I always come back to with a great pleasure and watch how it develops and flourishes. One can’t but fall for different small details of this beautiful, neither European, nor Asian city, ancient part of which was entrapped between times.
Hi, Istanbul! Here I am again!