The Istanbul’ sky must be cut with planes. This thought stroke me when we landed, while watching numerous flight lights from my cabin window. The air traffic is so massive here. But you don’t notice any cuts in the sky in the city. Maybe because the sky is the last you notice when wondering in labyrinth of narrow streets. Even standing on the bridge your attention is focused on Bosphorus – always busy with boat traffic. But not with sky.
This time I was in Istanbul on transit to Ireland. Three hours before the flight I was not sure at all if I am going here at all. Together with my husband we had to travel to Dublin. He went one day earlier via Amsterdam. Suddenly at night I got a call from him, that they didn’t allow him to fly to Irish capital. The problem was with our British visa. Normally it allows you to enter Ireland if you had travelled to UK before. We did. But nowhere said that if you entered UK more than 6 month ago, you need to renew a stamp on British border. And only then you can go to Ireland.
My husband was excepted in Dublin for a business meeting, so he changed a ticket, making a u-turn in UK. The changes costed him a fortune, but business requires such decisions. What to do with me we hadn’t got any idea. The only thing I could think of is to buy tickets from Ireland to UK and back, but I was not sure if I can make it in transit zone without officially entering Ireland. They could stop me in Istanbul or depart in Dublin. In the end I decided not to risk and stay in cold Saint Petersburg. By cold I mean -25C.
In embassy they confirmed that in my case I shouldn’t even try. So three hours before the flight I was totally unpacked and absolutely unhappy. At this very moment my husband landed in Dublin. He asked local custom officers about my situation. They wrote my data in their system and assure that I may come. Still without any guarantee that I will not have any problems I grab my beg and jumped in the taxi.
I swear, I never felt so happy in Istanbul. After two sleepless nights and hesitations, I am finally here, breathing fresh sea air. Also the fact that lately Russia kindly do not recommend to travel to Turkey, increased my wish to reach Istanbul. I have only several hours here – few hours for short sleep and two hours for the city itself.
My alarm crying that it’s already six – time to pack and run to Galata bridge to catch a sunrise. The sun should rise at 7.30. It’s raining. And still dark. Istiklal street looks absolutely different – there are almost no people. And surprisingly, it’s not pedestrian at this early hour. Taxis and cars make a good company to famous Taxim tram. Only few shops and cafes opening its doors. But I guess that sellers of simit are the ones who start working first here. At least there are several red stalls already working on empty Istiklal, selling round bagel with sesame seeds. They do the same mission as bakeries in Paris, selling baguette. They help people to start their morning – it’s hard to imagine a day without the smell of fresh bread. I grab one for breakfast. The fresh smell of simit and its peculiar taste makes me absolutely happy. And for some moments I forget about upcoming adventures.
Only few people with umbrellas passing by. Always busy area around Galata tower looks unusual empty. Next time when I want to take good pictures of this highlight, I will come here at six o’clock. But Galata bridge is already busy with traffic and fishermen. What brough they here at this early rainy hour? I guess not fish, but the view to Bosphorus, which you can enjoy nonstop. The sun already rose and colored gloomy clouds with some light. The mist cover the hills on Asian part of Istanbul. The city waking up lazily. Only seagulls demonstrate how energetic they can be. They make a good competition to boats, that cuts the waves. Standing here I realize that the risk was worth it, even if the rest of my travel plan will fail. To discover Istanbul on its awaking moment, when it is so vulnerable and natural, is just priceless.