We are back in Bella Italia and still I haven’t posted on a few beautiful hours we spent in Istanbul enroute from Hong Kong to Venice. We had a twelve hour stopover that allowed us the time to ‘feel’ Istanbul once again. We arrived there on the first day of the protests in Gezi Park. We were blissfully unaware of any disturbance and took our time wandering over the bridge from the spice market, watching the fishermen pull up sardines in the early morning light, the river busy, choofing with ferry boats. We had a gorgeous breakfast on the other side of the river, on the waterfront in the sun, eating hard boiled eggs and beautiful bread and fresh tomatoes and cucumber and olives and goats cheeses. mmmm.
We wandered back through the spice market buying delectable dried fruits before hopping on a tram that took us to the Grand Bazaar. It’s a wonderful place, the Grand Bazaar. I feel like we get a glimpse of history and culture through the amazing assortment of crafts and old finds, like swords and helmets and ancient jewelry, but also the rugs and glass lanterns, the exquisite embroidery on old costumes. And the ceilings are wonderful. Some of the vaulted ceilings are ancient. They are in their unmasked brickwork and their shapes remind me of Rover Thomas paintings from the outback of Australia. Very earthy.
Coming out of one of the many entrances or exits of the Grand Bazaar, we chanced upon the Burnt Column. It was constructed in 330 AD on the orders of the Roman Emperor, Constantine, to commemorate Byzantine. It has really been through the wars, it has been through earthquakes and fires and the crusades and their pillaging and it is probably about a third less in height, yet its presence is awesome, monolithic.
After this unexpected find, we took the tram back down to the waterfront, where we once again got on the bridge to find our tucker. Wonderful. We specially ordered sardines as we had seen them fished that morning, along with baba ganoush and hommus and olives and tomatoes…. and a lovely cold beer before we made our way back to a very crowded and stuffy airport to await our flight home.