Each weekend in August Aussie genealogy bloggers are participating in Family Tree Frog’s National Family History Month blog challenge. The topic is Genealife in Lockdown and I’ve chosen to be very liberal and lateral in my interpretation. As I mentioned last week, one topic occupying many minds in the last 18 months has been travel and the joys we’ve missed from it. So how could I avoid the temptation when I saw the Sepia Saturday theme for this week, with the image of a street in Istanbul! We visited Istanbul in 2014 and absolutely loved it for its diverse and exciting culture and history, truly where the East and the West meet. As we sailed into port on a magnificent morning, the scene of ancient buildings captured our hearts. I think it is probably the city I love most from among my travels.
So indulge along with me, as we explore some of our own experiences of Istanbul’s streets.
At any other time, waking up at midnight to the sound of a brass band playing may not be my idea of heaven, but in Istanbul it was just another excitement. In our lovely boutique hotel room we could happily fall back asleep. We saw the same band the next day as well – it was something to do with celebrating a football competition. Then there was the regular sound of the muezzin from the nearby mosques, calling the faithful to prayer. On our last night there was a concert being set up in one of the squares, and the dervishes were dancing.
We love markets wherever we go so our Culinary Backstreets Tour was just fabulous, being guided through old streets and lanes, and sampling so much food we were in danger of exploding! Do you like my little coronet of flowers that I got at one market – I brought one home for mum and this one was for our granddaughter.
You don’t typically associate harpists with Turkey but the sound of the harp while we had lunch and coffee was so tranquil. One of the reasons we loved Istanbul was the people’s affection and tolerance for cats. They pretty much have free rein and even strays are fed, with a shelter off the street for some.
The colours of the east prevail in Istanbul with so much vibrancy. The image on the bottom right is the drama of a particular dish having been cooked in a “plant pot”, the top was lopped off to serve the contents. It was Ramadan when we were there, and it was special to see the huge groups of families gathered in the parks to share their evening meal. Even though it was quite late, even little kids and the elderly were fully engaged.
Touring the markets and a shooting game at the waterfront to hit balloons (why?). I see I’ve doubled up with some pics here (oops).
Delicious food, fabulous colours and a very tempted cat.
You can wander almost any street in Istanbul and happen across something interesting and engaging. Somehow I don’t have a photo of the hilarious ice cream experience we had with our then-new friend from our cruise. On the flip side was this sad sight of a desperate Syrian family on the street near our hotel.
This is a snapshot from our pre-lockdown life and part of my own family story, so I’m going to justify my self-indulgence in sharing these collages.
Have you been to Istanbul? Did you love it or hate it? Is there a city that holds a place in your heart elsewhere?
We met our new friend Jan on the Mediterranean cruise, chatting over a coffee in Marmaris. She was the cheerleader encouraging me to persevere to the top of the acropolis in Lindos. She’s kindly shared this video clip of our ice cream entertainment in Istanbul. We hope it gives you all a chuckle, especially those in NSW currently in a state-wide lockdown.