Istanbul, City of the World’s Desire

Planning trips to coincide with the conclusion of various stages of cancer treatment became a strategy to cope with the seemingly interminable process of being treated for cancer. While healing from one surgery and waiting for the next, I would look at maps and plan itineraries for all the places that ever lived in my imagination.

On Monday, I would be floating down the Nile. By Wednesday, I’d be watching the sunrise from a tropic isle. On Friday, I’d be hunting for souvenirs from the marketplace in old Algiers… Mostly, I shuffled around the house in slippers, stunned and bewildered.

All the while, there was a soft whirring in the back of my brain. Istanbul, the City of the World’s Desire, was calling me.

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So, after finishing radiation treatment, I bought a ticket to Istanbul. I packed a suitcase and dragged my battered little body to one of the most beautiful and dynamic cities in the world.

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Galata Tower…by day and night

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One foot in Asia and the other in Europe, Istanbul hosts many of the worlds jewels of architectural and historical significance. The art galleries and museums are on the razors edge of culture. The night-life buzzes with a joie de vivre and infectious hipness that sucks the jaded pretense right out of New York and London.

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Istiklal Caddesi, not to be missed…and not for the claustrophobic

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When economies falter and times get tough…men fish

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Equal parts frenetic energy and gentle inertia, Istanbul is a city in which one can simultaneously heal and feel dervishly alive.

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Inside the Hagia Sophia

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After one is spent and exhausted from the sheer magnitude and velocity of so much sensory stimulation, there is still the tranquility of the tea garden, the shelter of a palace wall, the timeless beauty of a place between worlds.

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And, there I was. Simply glad to be alive, gazing toward heaven and the minarets of Sultanamhet. My lover of 20 years at my side and the call to prayer whirling around me in the streets of the old city.

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Sirkecki Station, last stop on the fabled Orient Express

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If you see a bunch of Turks in a queue, get in line behind them. Best Coffee on Earth…

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The Grand Bazaar, over 5,000 shops under one roof

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Spice Bazaar

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A day on the Bosporus

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Sea of Mamara, en route by ferry to Prince’s Island

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5 thoughts on “Istanbul, City of the World’s Desire

  1. The covered bazar and the Turkish people are the greatest therapy you can have post breast cancer surgery. Been there, done that, and am now giving back.

  2. I am working through Rotary and with US doctors to help start a BC Center in Adana, southern Turkey in a State Hospital for under-served women. We hope to have the first group go by June 30, 2013.

    • That is wonderful, Glynis. So much goodness in this world, despite the terrible events of past days. Please let me know how one might help your efforts.

      I would love to see a similar project in Bhutan.

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