Sunday, June 24, 2007


Taking a break from the spurt of posts on Istanbul (which there will most certainly be more of!) to present a few of the many faces of Vienna.

It took a while to get a feel of the place, not in the least because my senses were (and still are) overwhelmed by Istanbul, but it's sort of grown on me.

P.S: I really like the photos I've taken here so far, if I may say so myself. Hee.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Istanbul People

Saluting (me!) - Istiklal Caddesi

Staring out of her window - Fener
Drumming at Tünel

(I loved this. Everyone gathered around Tunel would basically get together and join in a huge drum fest. And the somehow the music always sounded great.)

Little Princes - Eyüp

(The Eyüp Mosque is the third most holy Islamic site in the world. Little boys dressed up - in most amusing costumes, with belts reading "Mashallah!", smothered by their mother, grandmothers, aunts, what have you come here before heading off for their circumcisions. Aged 9 or 10. Ouch.)

Making music - Tünel

Selling beads - Beyoğlu

People, I had the most wonderful picture of this wonderful old man at a nargile cafe at Tophane blowing out billows of smoke....I loved that picture...and was trying to rotate it to vertical on Windows picture viewer. It rotated, but the photo turned completely blank white. WTF!!!! Can anyone tell me wtf happened?? This trip has been screwed up picture wise. I am most upset. Bloody hell.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Istanbul'u Dinliyorum

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
At first there blows a gentle breeze
And the leaves on the trees
Softly flutter or sway;
Out there, far away,
The bells of water carriers incessantly ring;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Then suddenly birds fly by,
Flocks of birds, high up, in a hue and cry
While nets are drawn in the fishing grounds
And a woman's feet begin to dabble in the water.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
The Grand Bazaar is serene and cool,
A hubbub at the hub of the market,
Mosque yards are brimful of pigeons,
At the docks while hammers bang and clang
Spring winds bear the smell of sweat;
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
Still giddy since bygone bacchanals,
A seaside mansion with dingy boathouses is fast asleep,
Amid the din and drone of southern winds, reposed,
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.
Now a dainty girl walks by on the sidewalk:
Cusswords, tunes and songs, malapert remarks;
Something falls on the ground out of her hand,
It's a rose I guess.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed;
A bird flutters round your skirt;I know your brow is moist with sweat
And your lips are wet.
A silver moon rises beyond the pine trees:
I can sense it all in your heart's throbbing.
I am listening to Istanbul, intent, my eyes closed.

- Orhan Veli Kanik

(Translated by Talat Sait Halman (1982))

(1) Photos taken by me. The first and last(bottom of the post) have been cropped (click to enlarge). First view is from the Bosphorous ferry crossing, second from the Istanbul Modern (with views of the Topkapı, Aya Irini and Ayasofya) and the third from Eyüp.

(2) The poem in Turkish:

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali
Once hafiften bir ruzgar esiyor;
Yavas yavas sallaniyor
Yapraklar, agaclarda;
Uzaklarda, cok uzaklarda,
Sucularin hic durmayan cingiraklari
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Kuslar geciyor, derken;
Yukseklerden, suru suru, ciglik ciglik.
Aglar cekiliyor dalyanlarda;
Bir kadinin suya degiyor ayaklari;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Serin serin Kapalicarsi
Civil civil Mahmutpasa
Guvercin dolu avlular
Cekic sesleri geliyor doklardan
Guzelim bahar ruzgarinda ter kokulari;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Basimda eski alemlerin sarhoslugu
Los kayikhaneleriyle bir yali;
Dinmis lodoslarin ugultusu icinde
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Bir yosma geciyor kaldirimdan;
Kufurler, sarkilar, turkuler, laf atmalar.
Birsey dusuyor elinden yere;
Bir gul olmali;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali.

Istanbul'u dinliyorum, gozlerim kapali;
Bir kus cirpiniyor eteklerinde;
Alnin sicak mi, degil mi, biliyorum;
Dudaklarin islak mi, degil mi, biliyorum;
Beyaz bir ay doguyor fistiklarin arkasindan
Kalbinin vurusundan anliyorum;
Istanbul'u dinliyorum.

-Orhan Veli Kanik

Friday, June 15, 2007

I seem intent on taking back as much of İstanbul with me as I possibly can.

Prints of photos by Ara Güler, postcards, a huge print of Han Kahvesi by Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu from the İstanbul Modern, earrings from the Kapalı Çarşı, scrolls of calligraphy from the Sahaflar Carşısı, mavi boncuks for people back home....none of it seems to suffice though....I´d much rather just never leave....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I could spend my whole life roaming the backstreets of Beyoğlu. It´s my favourite part of town.
P.S: Thanks to everyone for the nice comments on the last post :) Considerıng I have taken some 300+ pictures there will be a lot of photo posts on İstanbul!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Ortaköy Camii

Sultanahmet Camii

Yerebatan Sarnıcı

Renkli, Beyoğlu

Galata Kulesi

İstanbul and İ. True Love. Really.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


There are two Thessaloniki’s. The city during the day and the city after sun down. My first glimpse of the place was on Sunday, when everything was closed. It’s an ugly city as such. Most of the city was destroyed by a fire and the cityscape is made up of rows and rows of ugly block shaped buildings. Some of the old Turkish houses in the Anopoli survive, as do the Byzantine walls, some old churches and hamams. Well, on Sunday the city was deserted. What the hell will I do here for three days? was the only thought in my mind. I walked around the city centre, saw some of the sights, fended off unwanted advances and went back home around six.

In an hour or so I was bored (1) and decided to take the half hour bus ride back to the city centre and hang around the sea front. I have never seen a city transform so much in just a couple of hours. The stalls on the waterfront were now open (there’s a book bazaar on), musicians were playing their instruments, all sort of food was being sold and traditional Macedonian dances were taking place. It was just so amazingly festive! I eventually reached home only around midnight.
Yesterday, things were busier during the day. The street markets were open. Around the Ladadika area vendors sold fish, fruits, flowers, clothes, hats, shoes (I bought a pair for €10).

I’ve spent most of my time here walking around the waterfront. It’s the one great redeeming factor of the city. People fish, walk, run, make out, eat, paint along the length of the coast. After two days of sunny weather, its pouring here today and I spent most of the afternoon sitting in one of the gazillion café bars (café by day, bar at night, full all the time) that line the water front. The coffee is always good (and comes with an adorable platter of pastries), the music uniformly excellent. The Thermaic Gulf stretched out ahead and I could barely make out the ships in the mist. It was rather lovely.

Thessa is also famous for its food. The Turkish influence (or is it the other way round?) is strong. I ate simit type bread every morning. A big fancy pastry shop just off Aristotelous Square, sells the most fabulous baklava. The shop owner has consistently refused to charge me for my daily piece of baklava, “No money!” he said firmly every time I went up to pay. Yesterday, at the book bazaar I had (I don’t know what the Greek name is!) a Greek version of the small gulab jamuns. Some sort of flour balls, dipped in honey and sprinkled with walnuts. Sickeningly sweet. Amazingly good. Earlier today, when the rain was coming down heavily, people lined the covered alleys, almost all of them eating steaming hot böreks. (I love the ones with feta cheese).

So the three days here have passed fast enough. My train for Istanbul leaves in three hours. Am excited :).

(1) The girl whose place I was staying at with took off for Bulgaria an hour after I reached. So I was basically home alone the whole time.
(2) I wish I had pictures. Damn it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Snow in May

MY CAMERA IS SPOILT. I am so upset I just want to cry. Through no fault of mine. Something do with the electro magneticism. I can't believe I'll be in Istanbul with a spoilt camera. This is just so bloody awful.
Am in Greece now. Thessaloniki is nice. The men though are scary. It's probably the first time I have wished I was travelling with someone.


Switzerland has awful weather right now. It's raining all the time. And it was snowing the day I got here. In May. I spend a month in Europe in December and see no snow. Get here in May and am caught in a snow storm.

Climate change indeed.