Happy New Year – and to a fabulous 2011!
Today is day four of the new and fabulous 2011. Time already seems to be flying… Just as it did over the last few days since Christmas. A friend from NYC heroically managed to fight the East coast snow and get on one of five planes that were leaving JFK that day and after an Odyssey of 24 hours he eventually made it to a rather grey and rainy Istanbul. Together with friends from Istanbul we had a great time though. And funnily enough, the guest was the one who ended up showing me new things in Istanbul, not me the local …
One of the great discoveries for me was the stunning beauty of the Rüstem Pasha Mosque in Eminönü. The mosque was built from 1561-63 by the then celebrated architect Mimar Sinan. It is the only mosque in Istanbul that uses the stunningly beautiful Iznik tiles to such a lavish extent. It is smaller than any of the major mosques, but in my eyes one of the most beautiful ones, if not THE most beautiful one.
And I, a person who hates crowded shopping places, was even successfully dragged to the bazaars… From Spice Bazaar to the Grand Bazaar. We did them all. In between and after, lots and lots of delicious Turkish food. It was a food orgy actually. By New Year’s Day, we could hardly move anymore. But it was just so so delicious!!!
One day we drove up the Bosphorus towards the Black Sea. And I must say (it might come as a surprise…), Istanbul is just always beautiful – in rain as well as in sunshine.
After some moments of breathing and taking it all in, we drove to the Sabancı Museum to see the Aga Khan Collection. Some extremely rare and absolutely beautiful examples of Islamic art from the collection are currently on display here in Istanbul.
It was not only the art works that were spectacular, but also the way they were displayed. And we had the museum all to ourselves!
New Year’s Eve, we spent with friends and lots and lots of delicious food. We stayed overnight at a friend’s place and there we welcomed New Year’s Day with yet even more food and Champagne and very relaxed in pyjamas.
It was such a wonderful start to the New Year. In the afternoon we visited friends for tea and had dinner at another friend’s place near Bebek – and suddenly it was 2am … As I said, time seems to be flying again!
Just before the New Year’s madness, I watched another very interesting Turkish film called Iki Dil Bir Bavul (Two languages one suitcase).
It is a film about a young Turkish teacher, who is sent out to a remote Kurdish village in Eastern Turkey to teach – for one year and he arrives with one suitcase. He arrives in such a different world from Istanbul, and the film has a great way of making one realise the difference between people within Turkey. The teacher faces all kinds of new realities in regards to life in a village like this, but also in regards to the fact that some of the children don’t even understand, let alone speak Turkish. They are speaking Kurdish in their daily lives, although Turkish is supposed to be the first language in Turkey. The young teacher’s struggles and realisations over the course of the 12 month period and the reaction of the village, the children and their parents are wonderfully captured in this film.
Near the German school in Istanbul, just down from Tünel, is a small cinema place belonging to the city where one can watch films like this – for TL4! And this cinema doesn’t do intervals, one can watch the entire film in one go!
And so it continues …