Saturday, November 10, 2012
This was my seventh time in Istanbul, and each time I visit, I am more in awe of the place. It is a huge, ancient city that would take years to explore. I have only seen a small part of it, but I've seen enough of it to know that it is one of the world's great cities. London is still my favorite. But Istanbul ranks a very close second. I always stay in the Sultanahmet district which is right next to Ayasofia, the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace. Strange as it sounds, from Sultanahmet, it's possible to sense the mood of the entire city from the new, ugly suburbs to the most ancient quarters. I could go on and on about all Istanbul has to offer and only scratch the surface. But it would be easier to post pictures. Here goes...
I realize that this is an incomplete account of the city. Over the years, I've taken hundreds of photos of Istanbul. But there are sights that captivate me over and over again. And sure, most of them are from the Archaeological Museum, which, in my experience is one of the best museums in the world, rival to the British Museum in quality, but not in size.
I returned from Istanbul nearly four weeks ago and I really apologize for taking so long to post my exploits, such as they are. By now, I'm completed re-acclimated to Seattle and Belltown, so it's like all of these things were experienced by somebody else. And once again, I've geared myself to contend with bums, crazy people and the little savages who live upstairs and make life loud and difficult. It's like I never left.
One of the reasons why people have such a good time when they're on vacation is that they know it won't last. They savor the freedom, relaxation and the stimulation from being in other climes. Me, I don't ever want it to end, because I know what awaits back in Seattle. I'm hoping someday to move to Istanbul (or London or Moscow or anyplace huge that's not Seattle, except New York, which really isn't my speed for some unknown reason), but for the moment, all I can do is look forward to the next trip. I always thought that a place like Istanbul would be crippled by all that accumulated history like some kind of life-sized museum, but the opposite is true. It's one of the most vital, alive and bustling places you can visit on earth. Vital, alive and bustling are my things. That's why I originally moved to Belltown, because it was the most urbanized part of the city. Well, that much is correct, but the vitality is definitely lacking so much of the time. Sometime that's welcome, but much of the time, it bores me to death. I don't want this to be some complaint about Seattle. And comparing it to Istanbul isn't fair. It's just that there's a lot in Istanbul that appeals to me. Sure, the prospect of living there is entirely a different matter. Turkish society does have some major flaws and I've seen them in my seven visits. I won't get into them here, but there are so many good things about Turkey that I generally disregard anything bad that I see. Plus, my rudimentary Turkish (mostly nouns, as the verb system still confounds me) limits my understanding of the deeper issues. But my guess is that if I do live there, even though some aspects of society may confuse or appall me, at least I won't be bored. So there.
Anyhow, I just have a few posts left and then it's back to conventional domestic squalor'n'squirrels that you've come to expect from this crappy blog. Thanks for reading.
Posted by Igor Keller