Up! Lets get up! Prepare some food, very light bags, we’re heading to Kabatas to hop on a ferry. Stop for simits on the way, rush down the hill, catch the tram and we made it with 15 minutes to spare (luxury!) onto the “Baris Manco” vessel on its way to the Islands.

We eat our breakfast on the boat and then watch the multitude of birds racing along the ferry, passengers feed them, they are amazing, executing all sorts of aerial acrobatics for a bite of food thrown at them by the passengers.

a62

a63

a64

We go to Buyuk Ada, the largest island, its my first time there. Right off the ferry it is a tourist mad trap and I am not sure I like it… but a few steps in and the beauty conquers me already.

a65

a66

a67

a70

We climb a very steep hill. There are flowers… real flowers, not planted ones, flowers that just decided to grow there and there are millions of bees, oh, the sound of bees… I look down and see cute red and black bugs, kind of like lady bugs but without the hard shell… I am dizzied by this life, I am not assimilating all this right there and then. My heart is pumping hard and I am sweating up this hill, and I am out of Istanbul with a backpack on my back and a friend at my side.

Trees. They are grey bodied, hard bodied, sturdy, heat bearing pine trees. What are they doing in the ground like this, they should be ambulating, they look like they should ambulate…

a68

a72

a75

a78

a79

we meet horses, flowers, hedge hogs (I had never seen a real one) dogs and cats, cows, ancient buildings, abandoned orphanage, the sea, boats, carriages (there are no gas propelled cars or vehicles on the islands) We saw the remains of mortal dreams and the eternity of the cycles of the sun and every moment was a blessing, and I kept realizing how much I needed this and how much I had forgotten what earth is like… as opposed to planet Istanbul…

I got to lay on the earth, feel its energy fill my cells, I got to breathe clean air, and see almost no one, I am so very thankful.

a82

Fairy tale images

a81

a84

a85

a87

a89

a95

a96

a97

a98

a99

b06

b01

b03

b05

b09

b11

b12

b13

These “bags” are actually hardened cement or plaster… someone had them piled up and whatever job they were intended for, they never got used.. so they hardened on the spot, someone’s dream or project that never materialized.

b15

b16

b17

Horses appear out of nowhere, they walk in the streets, eat where they may, follow their whims through the city. The horses on the carriages work hard. Some in very, very poor condition, my ex-horsewoman’s eye cannot avoid seeing the whitened hair of scars, the unfit bits and harnesses, the protruding bones and the smell of poorly kept animals. I wonder who supervises this?

b24

b18

b19

b20

b22

a73

Advertisements

A08

Well I have been here pretty much 3 years now and I had never visited the tourist attractions.  Last week I splurged and bought a Muzekart.  That is for residents, good for a year, endless visits allowed museum card.  Last week I visited Topkapi Palace.  I never expected to be so taken away but I was.  Completely.  I have no photos as I forgot my camera… yeah I know.

Today it was Hagia Sophia.  Amazing.  This place has artifacts in it that date over 2000 years ago.  From Greeks to Byzantines to Ottomans.  They are renovating, so there are scaffolds inside, but the place is impossibly beautiful, despite the obvious passage of time.

A01

A02

 

First we passed by the old train station which was the place where the Orient Express docked… gorgeous.

Then into the gigantic church-mosque

A03A04A05

 

this is a vessel from Greek times, over 2000 years old.  It had been purchased by one of the Sultans…

A10.jpg

A14A13A12A11

some of the mosaics still existing on the second floor

These doors…

A18A19A21A22

They fascinate me… and talking of doors this one is made of bronze and was made by Greeks 2300 years ago.  the beauty of the details and the fact that they survived like this is a wonder.  It is called “the beautiful door”

and of course a cat…

A29.jpg

and after all the walking, coffee…

and some tahin sweets that we smuggled in.

A31

It was a great day.  The sun out and warm but it’s still very breezy and there is no heavy sweating yet.  The Old City is very quiet though.  There are very few tourists, the shadow of terrorist bombings still looms wide and dark.  Where there should be huge line ups, like at Galata Tower, mostly locals can be seen.   We all are very conscious of this fact as we walk around, noises, weird looking people, will make us jump a bit.

But we must live, enjoy, celebrate this gift of this life and this gift of so many wonders surrounding us.