You know you’ve found a popular tourist attraction when you see a statue with a shiny spot. From Ireland‘s Blarney Stone to Istanbul‘s “weeping” column in Hagia Sophia, visitors love any place that has brought luck to others. Today’s Photo of the Day, by Flickr user Kumukulanui, is from Paris‘ Montmartre, and of Jean Marais’ sculpture “The Man Who Could Walk Through Walls.” Based on a short story, it’s believed that if you touch his left hand, you might be able to pass through some walls yourself, or at least take some zany pictures giving him a high five.
I’m getting ready to pack up and leave Istanbul tomorrow, after over two years and one baby, so you’ll have to indulge me in a bit of preemptive nostalgia. Amidst the photos of Hagia Sophia and kebab vendors in the Gadling photo pool of Istanbul images, I was surprised to see this photo by Flickr user BrettDresseur, of a view almost identical to my own a few doors down on Vali Konagi Avenue. Taken in Istanbul’s Nişantaşı neighborhood, she captured the beautiful architecture and European feel of the area. Similar to Manhattan‘s Upper East Side, Nişantaşı is where to find Turkey‘s priciest retail stores (more Chanel suit than carpet seller), Turkish and foreign ladies who lunch, and the childhood home of Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Visitors to Istanbul can now visit the innovative Museum of Innocence, based on his novel of the same name. The museum is near Taksim square in Çukurcuma, but the setting is pure Nişantaşı. I’ll miss this view and the feeling of living inside one of his novels; goodbye for now, Istanbul!
As an expat in Istanbul, I enjoy seeing anything Turkey-related, and this vintage video of the former Constantinople is especially fun to see. Narrated by a droll British commentator, you travel over and around Istanbul, checking out some of the big sights such as Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque, as well as life on the Bosphorus before the bridges were constructed to provide alternate access between the European and Asian sides of the city. Not too much has changed in 45 years, though the traffic seems lighter and the city less crowded than with today’s populate of 13 million (or perhaps more) people. I’d like to say that the Galata Bridge is no longer a “man’s world,” but fishing is still mostly men-only even if women are not only “veiled or hidden away”.
They do miss out on some correct terminology: the “different and delightful” bread ring is a simit, best accompanied by some Turkish cheese or with a full breakfast spread. The “hubble bubble pipe” is a nargile, found at many cafes and bars around the city and savored with a hot glass of çay (only tourists drink the apple stuff) or a cold Efes (if your nargile bar happens to serve alcohol). Barbeque remains a national pastime of the Turks and yes, “any old tin” will do. As in 1967, Istanbul is still the place to savor a fish sandwich fresh from the water, hop on a ferry between continents, and admire your newly shined shoes.