Thursday, December 30, 2010

Istanbul and Me

Hi all :) Been some time since i read a decent blog, much less posted one. Been kinda preoccupied, my apologies. Nyways, here I am, 6 days into my winter hols, uploading a few pictures from our 3-day transit in Istanbul on the way home last summer. Just to add a dimension to it, am tacking on some feelings to each image.
An old tree in the Hagia Sophia Musuem. A lot of wonder and enthusiasm was poured into Ottoman relics and bejeweled daggers and teapots (yes, there was a ruby inlaid teapot), but just as much amazement and awe was found in this tree, hollow inside, yet still providing shade. 
When I see you with another, this is is how I feel. Like there's something gnawing at me from the inside out, but yet I stand there, unwilling and unable to move. Jealousy and Commitment.

A pup on the grounds of the Sultan Ahmet (Blue) Mosque. I come from a Muslim country and transiting in yet another Muslim country, I was touched to see the casual passerby feed stray dogs and cats alike. And shockingly, the stray looks almost like a pure breed Lab, don't you think?
Each moment spent with a loved one is like the moment the pup had, lying in the sun on the fluffy green green grass. A feeling of comfort and peace. Content :)
This is the replica of the candle chandeliers they had in the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. The Cathedral is easily one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen - even in the state of reconstruction it was in! Despite the 70 odd tourists in the same building complex, there was a calm about the area, unmatched in any other part of Istanbul.
Sharing small everyday things with a loved one switches on a myriad of bulbs in me, each one almost routine, but not a single mundane one unimportant. Many small things that matter to me, that keep me warm inside.
The curved domes of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, the interior covered entirely by mosaic. Another intiguing thing is that this building has no corners, each angle is rounded. The prevailing hues of blue and gold gives it its alternative name - the Blue Mosque. And apparently it's considered sunnah for a Muslim to pray here. Aside from the central mosques in Mecca, this mosque is another one of the holy centres of Islam, or so a friend told me.
Beauty at a glance, but as we consider each slab of mosaic, we realise that's what we are. Just stone without others around us. And we realise that each of us contribute to make the bigger picture that much more alluring as we reach out to others. Humanity.
Blue sky with distant clouds, the deep blue sea. A view from the grounds surrounding the Hagia Sophia Museum. A warning to the wary, the grounds is extensive and it took us fairly fit individuals a full 10 hrs to complete it without break. There are benches around for people to sit and catch their breath, but we were on a  tight schedule and each wonder had us trotting form one to the next ceaselessly, like workaholics on amphetamine.
The want in us to seek greener pastures. The drive to go the distance and race along to an unknown destination. The stuff of dreams and that which fuels aspirations and consistent hardwork. Ambition. 
We had the chance to take the Bosphorus cruise and view the East and West banks of Istanbul. Surprisingly the cruise is government run and it costed 3 Lira - I think! I cant remember for sure now :P... 3 Lira is approximately 3USD, which works out to about 10bucks of my home currency. Not too steep a price for travelling students I feel :) Each cruise ship had floats lined up one the sides like this one and we saw the remnants of the old forts and watchtowers, the homes of the wealthy, lush greenery that later reminded me of Kerala a bit, and the famous Bosphorus bridge, a picture of which I think we and has to be somewhere in the collection of Istanbul pictures.
For a person afraid of open water, you make me want to jump into the cold waters anyway. Why? You make me feel safe and cared for, that's why. Security.

     The Hagia Sophia Cathedral and the Sultan Ahmet Mosque stand as symbols of religious renaissance in Istanbul. Also The Spice Bazaar, Central Bazaar, lighthouse, Caverna Basilica (which is eerily beautiful!), and the Hagia Sophia Museum are places not to be missed. 
     Will try to dig up some pictures and write another post some time :) 
     Oh and if you're at Istanbul, do walk along the tramline, use the tram with their cute red tokens, try their non-melting icecream, drink their apple tea, and don't forget to try their small ring shaped pastry with kas-kas on it. If you arent a travelling student on a  tight budget, Turkish tapestries and rugs should be on your wish list too :P 
     Turkey is worth the visit..! :)


Anonymous said...

I didn't visit Hagia Sofia museum when I was in Istanbul. Visited the Blue Mosque though.

rainfield61 said...

It is so good to hear from you, and bringing me to Istanbul.

A visit with a open mind always adds extra dimension.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Lovely pictures! Thanks for taking us to Istanbul.

Wish you and your family a happy new year 2011!!

Chavie said...

Ah, Constantinople. The most badass city in Age of Empires 2! :D

Love the picture over the water, and your descriptions, as always, were brilliant and vivid! :D

Hope you'll get around to uploading more pics. And post more often this coming year.


doc said...

aren't you glad you were there during a tremor-free period?

Loshini said...

Mei Teng:
Yep the Blue Mosque is more popular, and unfortunately, there is an entrance fee to the Aya Sofiya..

The least I could do after all the excursions you've taken us on! :)

You're most welcome and back at you :)

Lolx.. strategy games, they expose us to the world eh? :P

Thanks, and will do my best :D

Gadgetgirl said...

OMG!!!!!!!! istanbul? really? sigh.
the dome looks fabulous. really wanna make it to turkey. sigh