Two days in a new city does not an expert make. Actually, two days in a new city does not even a particularly good tourist make. But we do what we can with the time that is given to us (right, Gandalf?), so one hectic ride to Fiumicino Airport later, one half of YiR found herself in Turkey’s largest city.
I’m a particular type of traveler in that I rarely snap photos to immortalize a moment, or a trip. I wish I had the talent for photography – that knack for snapping a picture and capturing something at an angle that somehow retains the magic, the true expression of that couple, that building, that landscape, that look. Instead, I express feelings, celebrate the joy of living, by scribbling things down like a madwoman, so that, nel mio piccolo, I remember the form in which I perceived the essence of the place.
Istanbul was a burst of colors. The blue waters of the Bosphorus rejoicing in their role as separator of Europe from Asia by resplending in as many shades of aquamarine as possible. The proud, aggressive splash of red of the Turkish flag. The unbelievable emeralds and diamonds that decorate the daggers of the protectors of the Ottoman Empire, weapons now shut up in their cases in the palace that has become a museum. Precious stones so big you can see the whole network of veins underneath, lose yourself in them, suddenly understand why stones like this have made men lose their minds. The green of the parks that surround their palaces. The intoxicating scent of mixed spices that envelops their culture. The vibrancy and chaos of their markets and street vendors crying out as they nonchalantly sell the most basic and necessary item for survival, water. The furtive, secretive glances of the local women with their faces covered, surrounded by their compatriots dressed to the nines in their American apparel. A feeling of a place that’s not sure if it clashes within itself or not, but in its struggles sends forth bursts of light so bright it wills itself to live, and so it does. Yes, the colors – this is what I’ll take with me from this city.