It is exactly one year since I last visited Istanbul. I wasn’t aware how deep my longing for this city was, till I started the countdown and the time didn’t seem to go by.
When I finally was embarked for my beloved split city, my desperation for arriving made me dream obsessively of the pulsing metropolis waiting for me.
Already on my first trip, the Byzantine city conquered my heard.
But why particularly this city?
I’ve really seen many fascinating cities but Istanbul keeps overwhelming me.
It’s probably the split between continents, cultures and religions that binds me so strongly to Europe’s largest megapolis.
But it’s not only its culture and balance between opposites which attracts me. It’s also its leisure, the life along side the Bosporus, the parks with extense colourful tulip fields.
At this point I have to confess a secret: the main reason for keeping visiting Istanbul is because of the richness of its food culture.
In this weird city it’s all about food.
Food everywhere: fresh fruit, peeled fruit, roasted nuts, on charcoal braised pop corn, fried fish on the hand, fresh pressed orange and pommergranate juice, all kind of baklava sorts, velvety hummus, gorgeous mezzes…
Where ever you take a glance there are people enjoying food and this seems to be extremely contagious.
Istanbul drives me food crazy. Ok, I admit, I’m always food crazy but specially while travelling to this screwed place.
The vivid pictures of the enormous variety of greens and vegetables, colourful spices, the traditional cooking methods from smoking to grilling, refreshing sauces, overflowing starter platters, make me anxious to reach my final destination and to head for the overcrowded streets. I can’t wait to get among the friendly and attentive Turkish people.
While crossing the city I notice the streets are as usual very busy and loud.
Driving through the imposing two-storey Valens aqueduct, accelerates my heartbeat tremendously. Astonished I admire how this ancient structure masterly supplied the necessary water amounts over centuries for such a huge population. Its beauty and sophistication is a spectacle for my eyes. It’s the foretaste of the surrounding I’ll be absorbing with all my senses in the up-coming days.
At the very moment I can see the top of the Galata Tower I feel happy and relaxed, feeling sure the next five days will be unforgettable. The Medieval former watchtower is standing snooty in this magnificent spot between continents. This will be the starting and the finishing point everyday during my stay in Istanbul.
I feel like coming home.