Category Archives: Turkey

Beyoğlu’s resilience.

I’ve since long harboured the dream of having – or, more modestly, staying at – a house on the Bosporus. Something with balconies abutting the waterfront, or perhaps a terrace with a view of the passing ships, a bottle of … Continue reading

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Faces of Ortaköy.

Today’s a popular day to be in Ortaköy. Day-trippers are flocking to the waterfront. Outnumbered, the locals have made a hasty retreat to the fishmonger’s. Better let the tide ebb away. Only one thing is for sure: tomorrow, they’ll all … Continue reading

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Vapur abstraction.

There’s a concept I sometimes hear from my software engineer chums: abstraction, or the process of removing all sorts of attributes – be them physical, spatial, temporal – to get to the root of something (usually a system, since we’re … Continue reading

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Istanbul 6 AM

Les travestis vont se raser Les strip-teaseuses sont rhabillées Les traversins sont écrasés Les amoureux sont fatigués Or so sang Jacques Dutronc in his masterpiece Il est cinq heures, Paris s’éveille It’s 6AM in Istanbul, but we’re a couple of … Continue reading

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Away from the Golden Horn – what lies outside Istanbul’s centre (2/2).

Across the Bosphorus: Kuzguncuk. Istanbul, it can be argued, is a world of its own, and as in every self-respecting world you need a guide. Not a handbook, but someone who can direct you, offering insight and advice. Dante had … Continue reading

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Away from the Golden Horn – what lies outside Istanbul’s centre (1/2).

Symbols you won’t find on your keyboard: Beşiktaş and Örtaköy. I turned a corner on Beşiktaş caddesi and basically run into them. Milling around on civilian buses and police vans, sitting besides the mammoth hydrants that usually turn up, at … Continue reading

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The places in between: wanders through Fener and Balat.

I saw them from the above, a rare treat for a city like Istanbul, where landings seldom come from the north: huddled close together, squashed between the Golden Horn and the minarets of Ottoman mosques, were the houses and streets … Continue reading

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Out of the news and into real life: when terrorism strikes close by.

When travelling, there are a few risks one can manage. A bout of Delhi belly can be avoided by not having a salad (or by accepting the inevitability of trotters; after all, doing nothing is an alternative). Being mugged in … Continue reading

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A six-hour layover – snapshots of Istanbul in black & white

My inbound landed at 18:00. My outbound wasn’t due until some 6 hours later, at about half past midnight. Six hours that I could’ve spent wandering aimlessly through the airport corridors, boozing in a lounge, ending up – inevitably – … Continue reading

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“Shadow of the Silk Road”, by Colin Thubron

The first time I took this book in my hands I almost regretted buying it. Mind you, it was a cheap bargain at Turnham Green’s Oxfam branch, so at least I was sure that those £2.90 had not been wasted, … Continue reading

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