Photos

The first night in Istanbul is special… we’ll always recall the strange but, at the same time, emotional moment of being suddenly awakened by the call for prayer, the muezzin: in that moment we stood in silence – speechless – the beauty is, by itself, fulfilling… While the Muslims headed to the closest mosque, we stood still… hearing the waves of sound coming from the window sailing through Istanbul skies… and taking conscious that we are so far away from home… and how much we enjoy that feeling!…

The day begins and, after our turkish breakfast, we start our walk down to the ‘haliç’ [turkish lesson nr.01: “haliç” = golden horn]. A soft haze over the river let us guess the curvy silhouettes of the mosques interrupted, in a backlight move, by dozens of fishing rods dancing at the rhythm of the seas. A hurried ‘vapur’ [turkish lesson nr.02: “vapur” = ferry boat] is arriving to Karaköy: after disembark its passengers on the dock, is our turn to get to the other side, to leave our beloved Europe behind and face other continent – Asia!

 In our intercontinental “cruise” – for only 2TL which is less than 1€ – as we enter the Bosphorus, we take conscious of the magnificent views… the city is a living postcard! In the European side, the old city boasts its beauty in the impressive Topkapi and its countless mosques excelling the ‘famous’ Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia; the Galata Tower being noted among the natural movement of the hill and the impressive Bosphorus Bridge unifying the geographical barrier of the two continents in perfect harmony.

The first stop in the Asian side, is the mythic Haydarpaşa Station; after 20 exact minutes, everyone is getting out of the boat, climbing the wall even before the ferry is docked, reviving old memories of our childhood… with this in mind we reach Kadiköy, the antithesis of the touristic Istanbul, where we feel like two more people in the everyday life of the city, actually, this is the real city, where we can feel the traffic hustle, the traditional shopping routes and the professions already forgotten by time, like shoe polisher or street vending stalls, sided by a peculiar offer of services in the street that provides their livelihood: like a man standing in the street, waiting for costumers to weight on its balance or selling separate candy on a tray.

Strolling through its winding streets is fascinating, discovering “hidden” stores and lovely street markets where we can find almost everything: from spices to fresh fish and vegetables, to cozy butchers and typical grocery stores and, of course, a street full of perfect counterfeits of well-known brands.

 With the sound of the muezzin, we get back to the old continent. Although it’s winter, the weather is perfect to enjoy the sea breeze in the open deck and watch the Istanbulese feed the seagulls flying in the chase of our ‘vapur’.

Arrived in land, we take direction to the other side of the ‘Galata Bridge’ appreciating the performance of the many (but really… many, many) fishermen, posing like background extras in an Istanbul’s film: day and night, under copious raining or freezing cold, they are there… almost obsessively… everyday… the unstoppable movement of boats in the Bosphorus… Asia at a distance of a sight… isn’t Istanbul special?

 _____________________________________________

A primeira noite de Istambul é especial… vamos sempre lembrar o momento estranho, mas, ao mesmo tempo, cheio de emoção de sermos, repentinamente, acordados pela chamada para a oração, pelo muezzin: nesse momento ficámos em silêncio – sem palavras – a beleza é, só por si, única… Enquanto os muçulmanos seguem para a mesquita mais próxima, nó permanecemos imóveis… ouvindo as ondas de som que nos chegavam pela janela, navegando pelos céus de Istambul… e tomando consciência de que estamos tão longe de casa… e o quanto apreciamos esse sentimento!…

O dia começa e, após um pequeno-almoço turco, começamos nossa caminhada até o ‘haliç’ [lição de turco n.º01: “haliç” = corno de ouro]. Uma suave neblina sobre o rio deixa-nos adivinhar a silhueta curvilínea das mesquitas, interrompendo a visão, num movimento em contra-luz, dezenas de canas de pesca dançando ao ritmo das marés. Um apressado ‘vapur’ [lição de turco n.º02: “vapur” = barco (ferry)] aproxima-se a Karaköy: após atracar na estação, é a nossa vez para chegar ao outro lado, para deixar a nossa querida Europa para trás e conhecer outro continente – Ásia!

No nosso “cruzeiro” intercontinental – por apenas 2TL que é menos de 1€ – ao entrarmos no Bósforo, tomamos consciência da beleza das vistas… a cidade é um postal vivo! No lado europeu, a cidade velha ostenta a beleza no impressionante Topkapi e nas incontáveis mesquitas destacando as ‘famosas’ Sultanahmet e Hagia Sophia; do lado oposto, a Torre Galata, sobressaindo do movimento natural da colina e a ponte sobre o Bósforo, unificando em perfeita harmonia a barreira geográfica entre os dois continentes.

A primeira paragem no lado asiático, é a mítica Estação de Haydarpaşa; após 20 exactos minutos, todos os passageiros estão pulando para fora do barco, escalando a muralha, mesmo antes do barco atracar, reavivando velhas memórias da nossa infância… com isso em mente, chegamos a Kadiköy, a antítese da Istambul turística, onde nos sentimos, simplesmente, como mais duas pessoas no quotidiano da cidade, na verdade, esta é a cidade real, onde podemos sentir a azáfama do tráfego, as rotas do comércio tradicional e as profissões já esquecidas pelo tempo, como os engraxadores de sapatos ou as bancas de venda ambulante, ladeadas por uma peculiar oferta de serviços de rua que provêm o seu ganha-pão: como um homem parado na rua, à espera de clientes para pesar na sua balança ou o vendedor de rebuçados avulso numa bandeja.

Passear pelas suas ruas sinuosas é fascinante, descobrindo lojas “escondidas” e lindos mercados de rua onde podemos encontrar de quase tudo: desde especiarias a peixe e legumes, a carniceiros muito bem decorados e típicas mercearias e, claro, uma rua repleta de perfeitas falsificações de marcas bem conhecidas.

Com o som da muezzin, regressamos ao velho continente. Apesar de ser inverno, o clima é perfeito para desfrutar a brisa do mar no convés aberto e assistir a como os Istambuleses alimentam as gaivotas voando na perseguição do nosso ‘vapur’. Chegados em terra, tomamos rumo ao outro lado da Ponte Gálata, apreciando o movimento imparável de barcos no Bósforo… Ásia à distância de um simples olhar… o desempenho dos muitos (mas realmente… muitos, muitos) pescadores, surgindo como figurantes num filme sobre Istambul: dia e noite, apesar da chuva, apesar do frio, eles estão lá… quase que obsessivamente… todos os dias… não é Istambul especial?

(travel diary) DAY 1: Istanbul, one city… two continents!

Tagged: , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by "Our traveling without moving!..."

24 Comments

24 Responses to “(travel diary) DAY 1: Istanbul, one city… two continents!”

  1. Not only are your photographs beautiful, but so is your writing. I love your phase, “professions already forgotten by time…” What a treat to read. Thank you.

  2. Nice text and fantastic pictures!
    It’s a pity I cannot enlarge them, though…

  3. A great narrative and lovely pictures.

  4. Thanks Andrew! Thanks cp! Is so good to “hear” your lovely words!

  5. I’m going to Istanbul in the spring. Got to get to Karakoy! Thanks for this.

  6. Gorgeous pictures and descriptions! Istanbul is on my bucket list, and your bog has whetted my appetite!

  7. Thanks to you, kmazz! Keep following our blog… There’ll be more stuff about Istanbul!

  8. Thanks for liking my blog post so I could find your blog! Love your post/pics from Istanbul! I was so amazed this fabulous city sits on two continents (my hotel phone even said Asia Side/Turkey Side) – so totally unreal, but cool at the same time! Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

  9. Thank you! Istanbul is a special place with no doubt!

  10. So glad I could see this! Amazing photos (and words) I’m thoroughly impressed by how you’ve captured the place. I wish I’d taken a few more shots now to remember my time there.

  11. Are you guys traveling while writing all these gorgeous posts? I really wonder. However, I’m really glad reading them all. You guys are such an inspiration for me to want to travel more! Thanks for sharing🙂

  12. Thank you, Virginia, for your nice words!

  13. Welcome again, Robin! I wished we could blog during our travel, but each second spent traveling we want to enjoy the place we are in… But, as soon as we get home, we try to manage our posts! Thanks (again!) for your nice words!

  14. A great read, thanks! Every time I see a photo or an image on TV of Istanbul I think, I simply have to go there.

  15. Thanks for your lovely words, Johanna! Istanbul is trully a magical place!

  16. Excited about your blog. I am off to Istanbul this summer🙂

  17. So nice! Keep following us… There’ll be more about Istanbul!

  18. Absolutely amazing, story and pictures!!

  19. Nice pics! I lived in Istanbul for six years. The muezzin also captured my heart during my life there: the ethereal sounds of the sung Arabic phrases made me feel as if I was in a different world. Except when it wakes you up every morning at 5am🙂 Important note for travellers: do not book a hotel right next to a mosque!

  20. You’re so lucky! To live in Istanbul for a few year it would be dreamy!

  21. Hey! Thanks for liking my post, so I found out yours! Would you mind if I used some of your posts for my study? Would be great if you posted some about Beyoglu..Thanks!

  22. Thanks, Emek! We’ll be glad to be helpfull in your study; you can use our post, just let us know about it!🙂

  23. Sure I’ll let you know! Thanks

  24. Wonderful photos! I’m going to Turkey myself this summer, and I may use your blog as a travel guide. Can’t wait!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: