Today I am wandering around looking for the sultans palace, which is visible from anywhere in the city but I am taking a lazy meandering route and it has paid off.
I noticed a lush forest/park with green cushioney grass and lots of brightly coloured flowers snoozing peacefully under a canopy of the most stunning tall trees with jet black trunks and deep green foliage – all the streets and paths around are cobble stones – the entrance to the park is guarded by splendid white marble lion statues which appear throughout the park along with little benches to rest your feet. There is also a marble bear statue and a marble elephant
I have been wandering around the park by myself enjoying the beautiful clean oxygen, the shafts of sunlight streaming between the leaves, and the gorgeous damp earth.
Following a path around I have stumbled across the magic coffee shop. Up here on a hill within the forest surrounded by tree trunks and little garden pots of cheerfully waving geraniums and roses I am metres from the sea and have a stunning 180 view of Istanbul harbour, the bridge and the two sides of Istanbul on each side of the river. There huge ferries and barges and cruise ships chugging about and the water is deep sapphire blue and sparkling.
What a spot!
There is hardly anyone here except me and some birds and the coffee shop staff. The tables and chairs are tiny and made of wood and so cute, like out of an Enid Blyton fairy garden. Maybe I will stay here all day.
Turkish coffee. I am sipping some now. Wow. Now I know where the strange sounding Turkish language came from. These are the only syllables you are capable of uttering after a sip of this coffee. Just gibberish. I have become a bit addicted to it.
I am a bit sick of apple tea now. I fell in love with my first apple tea and became a fan. But everywhere you go they want to give you complimentary apple tea, and they act very offended if you say no. I do not know how to translate ‘ I have already had 3 dozen apple teas today, and if I have another one I really might die’
So I will hide up here in my enchanted forest coffee shop with the trillion dollar view and dose myself up with coffee.
What a city. It is a real trek to get here but good for the soul as it is divinely beautiful
8 September 2011 – Istanbul (old city), Turkey
postscript with some photos below
one of the white lions in the park. The trees with the long straight jet black trunks are not in this photo, I have since tried to research what kind of trees they might have been but I am still none the wiser. Here are some geraniums in the old city. I did not take photos of the magic coffee shop or its special view
We dropped by the grounds surrounding the Blue Mosque frequently because of this dear little kitten we found crouching in the garden all alone, miaowing desperately. I kept holding gently it in my hand (that is how tiny it was) so it didn’t feel scared and we took it various things to eat. After awhile it started to play. On one occasion a lady also stopped and gave some feta cheese to the kitten. Hopefully it survived after we left …..
Istanbul is home to loads of dogs that seem to know their territories and to protect them. In a cafe we were told that the city vaccinates the dogs and checks their health and they belong ‘to the city’. We noticed a butcher closing shop at the end of the day and taking meat out to the dogs. On arrival we were adopted by a big shaggy dog who looked like a little bear, so I named him Bear, and Bear followed us around the whole time we were there. If we went into a shop Bear sat outside on the pavement and waited. If we moved outside Bear’s territory he waited for us to come back and then followed us again. Bear was patient and gentle and very shaggy. He got lots of pats from moi, (but no feta cheese). Here is a photo of Bear.
Here’s a rather cool shot I fluked of the roof of the Hagia Sophia, which is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen – when I walked in I was so overwhelmed with the scale and grandeur of it that I sat on the floor, in a corner, and just stared ….
I felt safe and fully at ease in Istanbul and enjoyed it immensely.
I would love to return one day.