Istanbul in my heart

A room in the house, İstanbul in the room
A mirror in the room, İstanbul in the mirror
The man lit his cigarette, an İstanbul smoke
The woman opened her purse, İstanbul in the purse
The child cast a fishing line, I saw,
And he started to draw it, İstanbul on the line
What kind of water is this, what kind of İstanbul
İstanbul in the bottle, İstanbul on the table
It walks with us, stops with us, we are puzzled
She is on one side, I am on the other, İstanbul in the middle
Once you fall in love, I understand
Wherever you go, there you see İstanbul.

Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan – İstanbul

Visiting Istanbul (first was Byzantium, then Constantinople) had always been on my bucket list since I read Orhan Pamuk’s books. I dreamed of this day when I looked at photographs of the magnificent historical places and building in travel magazines. I jokingly told E that it was the sole reason I’m dating him but was shocked that he actually bought tickets for us for 10 days in my dream city.

We stayed at E’s sister and husband’s house in Sariyer, the northernmost district in Istanbul. The town centre was close to the Bosphorus strait where we could walk and enjoyed the beautiful water scenery and old wooden houses from the Ottoman Empire era.

At the weekend we went to Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue. I was astonished seeing the number of people swarming down the street. The old European buildings in the sun, the historical trams were making its way, the chestnuts and corn cob vendors busy with the customers, the football fans singing and chanting, tiny cafes and restaurants, chocolate and baklava shops… I felt that I was transported into some sort of a different reality. Strange but felt so familiar at the same time too.

We continued our journey to Galata Tower, a medieval nine-story tower that was built in 1348 during the Genoese colony in Constantinople. Then we crossed the Galata Bridge in the Golden Horn. The sun was about to set, and the turquoise water of the Bosphorus was sparkling. Fishermen were lining along the bridge. It was a perfect day.

I have been to many capital cities, but none of them captured my heart the way Istanbul did.

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