Empty Istanbul

I had a serious lapse of judgement the other day- I left the house early to go the long way to the bus station because I wanted to take some pictures of the sea side parks by my house. By the time I got down the stairs to the first park it was sleeting, and as I walked it got colder and sleetier and windier and in general more miserable with each step I took. I gave up taking pictures about half-way along because my camera was getting wet, my hands were getting numb, and I had to focus considerable energy on walking into the considerable wind, but the ones I took I’m pretty pleased with. Istanbul is densely populated, and I don’t believe I’ve ever walked for ten straight minutes without seeing another person, even in the middle of the night. The streets and the park were eerily empty, and Europe wasn’t visible on the other side of the Bosporus. Besides very cold and wet, I felt cut off from the world for a half hour.

By the way, I’ve been looking at other people’s travel blogs recently, and I feel like I should apologize to my readership- all three of you. Other bloggers have exciting pictures of Big Important Historical Shit up on their sites, or they go on vacations and take pictures of their exotic destinations, or they go to important cultural events and take pictures of that and as a result their photo-blogs actually have esthetic, educational, and cultural value. And poor you guys, I keep taking pictures and being like, “Hey guys! This is what it looks like when I walk to the bus stop! Here’s a store that sells radios!”

When I first arrived here I was more interested in wandering around and looking at mundane stuff than I was in touring historical places. (Full disclosure: I still haven’t been inside the Blue Mosque.) Advertisements, what houses looked like, what people were wearing, the contents of grocery stores- these things fascinated me then, and they continue to hold my interest now. Maybe one day I’ll actually go on vacation, or I’ll tour something old and take pictures. But until then, without further ado,


Got everything? Keys purse wallet? Check your hair one last time, and let’s go.

If we turned left instead of right, we could go the short way down the hill to the bus terminal, but if we turn this way, we can walk to the sea, which as you can see is at the end of my street.

Spooky abandoned building.

I didn’t wand to look like I was taking a picture of them, and as a result I have barely taken a picture of them, but in the back, behind the trees, are three men standing around a fire they just made.

I might start a Tumblr called “Scariest Bathrooms.”


I’m sure that teenager was doing something very wholesome in that abandoned, half ruined building.

Another contender for “Scariest Bathrooms.”

Flowers! This is an extraordinarily welcome sight when winds of 17 or 18 knots are blowing sleet directly into your eyeballs. Spring is coming. Spring is coming. Spring is coming.



Filed under Daily Life, Kadikoy, Photos, Seeing Sights

4 responses to “Empty Istanbul

  1. SB

    I actually prefer blogs that write about the daily stuff. I have noticed a trend in many of the blogs I read where people are writing more like a professional travel writer instead of writing their unique story and their unique perspective. The small everyday details interest me much more than an entry about an exotic travel destination or a restaurant review. I can get that in any guidebook, but what attracts me to blogs is the personal story.

    • I tend to agree, which is why I leave that stuff out. But then, while I tend to think everything I do and say and see and eat is utterly fascinating, I’m not sure how interesting it is to other folks.

  2. Phil

    Knots? You know how to measure windspeed in knots? Well wonders never cease!
    By the by, I am now anxiously awaiting the start of your “scariest bathrooms” series.

  3. It is entirely more likely that I only THINK I can measure windspeed in knots because I took sailing lessons for a whole two weeks in 1994, and I sort of remember it. (Starboard is left, right? Poopdeck? That’s a thing?) But for the record, let’s go ahead and say “YES! I can measure windspeed in knots.”

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