My school year long adventure in the city that is never still, never boring and never calm is officially over. My last days in Istanbul, contrary to preconceived notions of how it would be, were not spent seeing all of the touristy sites that I missed out on. Logistical failures, bad planning on my half and being so damn exhausted from the Turkish school year which only has three weeks of holidays (the last being those at the beginning of February) and the hour and a half slog to anything interesting all got in the way. In the end I failed to see the inside of Topkapi Palace AND the Hagia Sofia. I promised myself I would go throughout the year, putting it off thinking I had all the time in the world. As usually goes with these things, all the time in the world goes by quicker the time it takes to check into the Turkish airlines flight out of there. All the more reason to go back!
The thing about living there was that when you are in the middle of it, living and breathing the polluted air, I seemed to do all I could to think of the quickest way out of there. Looking back I wish I savoured each moment more. But then, when looking back everything takes on the rose tinted hue that comes with nostalgia and not knowing what you have till its gone. There is a place in my heart reserved for this city, a city although ugly on the outside has the sort of interesting beauty of a California Condor. Outwardly ugly yes but when one takes the time to observe this graceful creature you will see a gentle beauty in its movements.
I cannot say what I will miss the most, the solidarity shared through the hour and a half long metrobus ride with those unfortunates who also happen to live in the nether regions of the city? Being taught how to swing dance at a party? The death defying dolmus rides with the ridiculous uphill road climbing feat at the end getting us to Taksim in style? Mary’s Chicken in Bakirkoy with their wedges, cheese and gravy? The blissful quiet enjoyed on the car free Princes Islands? Leaving a friends house to be greeted with throat clogging, eye burning tear gas fumes? The 5 lira beer and tequila’s of Voodoo shared with friends from all over the world, becoming youtube DJ’s for the night? The back alley 7 lira kofte durum open to the 6 o’clock in the morning riff raff looking for their post party fix? Those fleeting moments on lucky ferry rides over the Bosphorus when you spy dolphins chasing the boat, only to disappear as if something imagined in a hungover haze when you finally manage to get your camera out? I really cannot pin-point or sum up my favourite moments of this year it was all damn bloody good, even those shite moments when all you want to do is get away from the all encompassing grey and breathe fresher, greener air.
Here are some of my photo highlights…