Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thoughts on Istanbul

The Istanbul trip is still fresh in my mind. Looking back at photos (and other people's photos), I am swept by a sense of yearning for the exuberant Turkish city. The 6 day visit to Istanbul was the most fun I've had compared to any other major European cities I've visited in the past.

For one, there weren't any unsettling feeling that you were being watched, judged, or disapproved of. People were always friendly and seemed more than willing to help, and not once did I feel awkwardly out of place. Although Istanbul is not as polished, or as glossy, it is still reminiscent of a typical European city, especially with its small streets littered with charming little shops and cafes. And despite the hustle and bustle, and lively energy exuded by the city dwellers, there's a quiet, muted calmness felt from the melancholic waves of the Bosphorus waters.

If you sit along the Bosphorus coastline on a clear sunny day, the majestic view can sometimes be overwhelmingly gorgeous, but yet it doesn't feel boastful, or untouchable. The scenery feels accessible and it welcomes anyone to come and enjoy it.

Perhaps it's true. Maybe the beauty isn't much to brag about compared to the shores of Italy, Greece, or the French Riviera. But beauty alone is not enough. It's the people that makes you want to come back (as oppose to locals who look at tourists with bitter resentment), and the view that makes you want to stay.