According to my travel journal, these were the thoughts and reflections I took with me from Istanbul.
- The Mosques (found in every street corner) are something of a mystery to me. They are very beautiful, grandiose even. To me they represent a reality that is very alien, and thus fascinating.
- The stray cats are cute and (and surprisingly well taken care of). They are everywhere!
|Happy cats in Istanbul|
- The noise and the dirt and the steep hills are in fact a part of the city's charm. It does take some getting used to for someone like me, though. Someone like me = does not like crowds and dislikes talking to strangers.
- It was surprisingly difficult to find "proper" coffee (now, I am aware that my understanding of proper coffee does not coincide with what most other people consider to be good coffee),
- People were extremely friendly and helpful. One example: we were strolling around a residential area when this old man (over 80 probably) started to give us directions in broken English. He wanted to assure that we were not lost!
- It was very painful to see children begging. I am aware that this is a cruel reality in many places, but as it is something you rarely see in Scandinavia, it really took me by surprise. Now imagine the reality of all those people who need to flee for their lives. And imagine that there are people who are more worried about protecting their language rights than helping people in need*. This sickens me.
- The beginning of June is the perfect time for a visit to Istanbul. The weather was good and it was not as crowded as it has the potential to be.
|The Grand Bazaar - not too crowded|
* A while back, a letter was sent out in my former home municipality. The authors call for a referendum to prevent refugees from coming to the Åland Islands. The letter can be found here.