Friday, 19 March 2010

You had me at "Taksim Square"

If you walk through Taksim Square on any given night, you will most definitly have to navigate through a sea of pedestrian traffic. On Friday and Saturday nights, hundreds of people roll onto Istiklal Rd., like some beautiful, well-dressed tide. Although it's difficult to navigate these waters anchored by a group, on your own it's quite easy to weave between the lovers, and vendors, and slow-moving police cruisers like a ninja, stealthly anticipating your surroundings ... Walking up Istiklal Rd. to the Meydan in this manner is one of my favourite passtimes.

The heart of Istanbul remains the most beautiful place I have ever lived. After spending a long period of time in a place that had the aesthetic quality of a plastic bag, I am often overwhelmed by the beauty of the architecture in Istanbul, and specifically, Taksim. Stone paths line the store-fronts that display everything from antique furniture to butchered meat behind plate glass windows. Men sell produce, on nearly every street corner, from make-shift wooden fruit stands, and I am happy to say I have not encountered one 711 since I got off the plane. I practice Turkish with the man who owns the variety store beside my apartment, as I go there at least twice a day to buy my new favourite snack: dried fruit and nuts. Life is good here and living in this city feels almost as good as falling in love.
At night, nets of tiny lights woven overhead light Istiklal Rd., and I spend much of my time watching the beautiful women parading through the square, or sipping coffee on one of the many cafe patios lining the street. The smell of roasted chestnuts and grilled chicken permeate the air, and there is a bakery display that I always stop at to admire the mountains of sugary baklava and the fountain of melted chocolate glistening in the window.

This is a place where it is hard not to be extremely romantic. The architecture, the beautiful people, the cafes and cobblestone, these things BEG to be romanticised, and of course I am in my element. I imagine myself, a lone explorer, wandering through mysterious neighbourhoods, discovering sensory gems around every corner, constantly looking forward to the next time I get lost in this big beautiful city.

xo Sandra

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