Ahh, Istanbul, I really connected with the city of Istanbul, but it’s my type of city. It was surprisingly similar to New York, the hustle, the edge, the camaraderie and esprit de corps, but not without caution. Let’s face it, in this big, buzzing city, we’ve all different dreams. Here, in the ‘bul, dozens of cultures root deep deep through the ages. Budding above the concrete surface is the remnants of centuries of people welded, spliced and entwined. A city of historic mystique. Harrowing mysteries in the halls of all of human time.
Different than Rome and different from Athens, because Istanbul, the Bosporus passage, Eurasia’s champion cross roads, connecting the Orient Express, the Silk Road, had a different purpose throughout history. The Byzantines, The Romans, The Ottomans, the hinge of the world as we knew it! Power, Religion, War. The keeper of many secrets, not in a Godfatherly way, but like your Grandfather who’s lived through it all, only sharing with you the stories you’re ready to understand.
I was to scout the city. Most especially, I was to plan a New Years celebration. The perfect missions for me!
Reconnaissance 101, I mapped the terrain. I walked across the Galata Bridge. It reeked of fish. Fare or foul weather the fishermen fished. Today had cold horizontal rains and whipping winds. Istanbul had no hesitations in washing itself clean of 2014. I trudged, soaked, and happy to be bringing in the New Year here. Aimed at landmark: Galata Tower, a medieval stone tower, 1348. Originally, Christea Turris (Tower of Christ) The Galata Tower has a Romanesque style, and stands 220 feet tall. The first Galata Tower was destroyed by the Fourth Crusade.
First place man took flight, or as some would argue, glided. He did flap the wings he was wearing, and made it across the Bosphorus, flying Europe to Asia, about 1.5 miles. His name was Hezârfen Ahmed Çelebi, an aviator in 17th century Ottoman Istanbul. He might have gotten exiled to Algeria because of it. Source needed.
The Pera Palace: Timeless glamour and elegance with genuine Turkish hospitality, retains its unique heritage combined with a modern touch. Cosmopolitan Istanbul. That is how the Pera Palace describes itself. All I felt was the darkness of it humming, 1892 – Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock, among more. Ghosts singing, maybe screaming. Here, I’m deff to the difference. Mystique memorizing like an open flame, relentlessly roaring. The ignited will of eternity. Consider the Tower of Terror, but instead of a thrill ride through the twilight zone, it’s a palpable surrender to history. I drank whisky in the lobby, enamored by it all. Senses teamed, ghosts lurked and I pretended not to be spooked while in these timeless corridors of good, evil and legendary.