Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Istanbul Beckons

The buildings above and the streets below are centuries, if not thousands of years old. They are selling cell phones in markets that have been in existence since before 600BC. Wrap your brain around that.

These cobblestones wind their way through markets and neighborhoods where the domes and spires of mosques soar overhead. Turkey is predominantly a Muslim country which is reflected in the architecture.

The European side doesn't draw me in as much as the Asian side. It's less touristy, more real to me. Parks, street art, and the sights and sounds of everyday life.

I spend one afternoon wandering through Üsküdar, along the Bosphorus, stopping to drink tea and watch the life on and around the water.

Later, after I hike up stairs and more winding streets, I stumble upon a gigantic farmers market, which I told my guesthouse host I have a knack for.

The sheer abundance of produce is staggering. And the size of things! Cabbages larger than basket balls! Softball sized black radishes! Leeks a yard long! Mind blowing, I am in awe.

One of the major downsides of living here is that everyone smokes. Everyone, everywhere. My lungs burn from it. But the sunshine and the cool, mild winter air (mid 40's to high 50's) make me happy.
Christmas isn't as in your face and all encompassing here. So I'll spend my eve and day catching up with family and friends in the states, eating whatever the hell I want (Merry Xmas to me!) and taking pics of the moments of holiday cheer I happen to stumble upon.
My holiday wish for you all: Peace!