Today on the 29th October 2013, Turkey celebrates 90 years of independence, and this, is my little tribute :)
It all started when I turned up at Atatürk airport in late June with my 180 / 90 day visa and loved it so much I then returned in October to divulge some more (well, it would be rude to waste that visa!).
Few can deny it's buildings are majestic, it's history vast, it's culture diverse and it's people so friendly and welcoming. The atmosphere is almost magical. Istanbul is the only city in the world to be built on 2 continents and has close to 20 million inhabitants (growing by approximately 400,000 each year). If I'm going to be honest here, I am tempted to add to that number!
I didn't quite know what to expect when I arrived that day, least of all that I would fall helplessly in love with it. From the small cobbled streets, to the magnificent mosques, to the mighty Bosphorus river, it is utterly breathtaking. My favourite past time was sitting outside a cafe or restaurant, drinking wine or tea, and just looking around. Everything amazed me. And don't get me started on the food!
Mums and dads drinking tea with the kids, a can of coke in each hand, chatting away. A mother and daughter sat playing card games. Several friends chatting and catching up. From the lively cafes off Istiklal street to the more upmarket restaurants of Sultanahmet, every corner of Istanbul took my breath away. From the Blue Mosque to the Grand Bazaar, small colonial esque wooden houses in need of repair sat next to modern restored buildings.
Then at night you change again. Minarets, domes, spires and lamps, all glowing on the horizon, as far as the eye can see. It serves merely to add to your mysticism. I have seen so much yet I know I have barely scratched your surface. I need more.
Istanbul - You are amazing. I can only count the days until we meet again. Perhaps this is a little love letter to you (shh, don't tell anyone. I'd hate to ruin this hard exterior I have put on for the last 30 years, showing affection generally isn't my thing ), but then again, you would know all about love letters wouldn't you? Your museum has housed the oldest one of all, the Sumerian letter.
So, until we meet again...