Yes. It really is the end of the year 2015. Which means, that I’ve been back in Hamburg from my Balkan trip for almost six weeks now. Too long really for this post. But, since everyone seems to have one or another New Year’s resolution, I decided a few days ago, that there is only one thing I have do: write down the second part of my Voices of Istanbul experience. Sadly I didn’t manage to write it earlier, which would have been much easier, because – and this I know for sure now – memories do become less vivid after some time. And especially for writing a blog like this one, I depend on freshly made experiences a whole lot… Even if I can recall the feelings connected to them within a blink of an eye. Looking back makes me realize that this year has probably been the most exciting year of my life. I have made so many incredibly wonderful unique and unforgettable experiences – in other words: memories – that I will remember forever. And I am grateful for each and every one of them. Most of all: I am happy. So here’s what I remember of Istanbul, when I take my soul by the hand and travel back to the early days of November:
A mood light. The sound of Muezzin prayers waking me up in the middle of the night (or in the very very very early morning). A cat attacking my feet while I am sleeping. Cars. A grocery store. Bakeries. Turkish breakfast. Smiles. Green eyes. A walk. Construction sites. People. traffic. Noise. A huge shopping mall. Metro stations. Taksim Square. More people. A ride in a nostalgic tram along İstiklal Caddesi. Istanbul’s Hard Rock Café. A birthday party. Turquoise Cocktails. Burgers. Presents. Hugs. Rock ‘n Roll. An Orio cake with a single candle. A birthday girl. And her smile. A birthday song. Friends. Cigarettes. More cocktails. And beer. Even more people out on the streets. Teahouses. Joy. A courtyard. Stairs. Darkness. A club. Coop. Lights. A dance floor. Funky music. A FC St. Pauli (!) flag on the wall. Beer. Hips. A balcony with a view. Steps. Another dance floor. Waiters waring football shirts. Techno. Smiles. Dances. Friendly chats. Cigarettes. Standing outside. Talking about love. And different perspectives. A soup. Curiosity. Hospitality. The slightly bitter taste of black tea and sweet halva. Beautiful blue eyes. Politeness. Courage. A taksi. Fluent traffic in the night. A mood light. Fate. The story of a dandelion. A short night sleep. Another crazy cat attack. Sunlight. A guitar case. Friends. Love. A car ride. A bridge. Water. Mosques. Kadiköy. People. Böcek Café. Cushioned armchairs. Small wooden tables. Coffee. Turkish breakfast. Grapes. Music. Zeytin. A terrace with a view. Friends. Warmth. Love. Singing along. A blackout. Hakuna Matata. Laughter. Happiness. Goulash Disko Festival family. Homegrown ginger. Pride. Tea. Sharing. More coffee. And cigarettes. Beautiful people. Women. A shared seat at the piano.
Enthusiasm. A jam session. Writing. Listening. Enjoying. Excitement. Sitting behind a drum set. And actually playing. Being a drummer (at least for a very few moments). Funky tunes. Rhythm. Choir. Wodka. Spice Girls. Being drunk. Saying goodbye. Needing fresh air. A taksi. Dizziness. A driver. An accident. A momentous tragedy (no one got hurt, except the taksi). Walking home (which I don’t really remember). Scrupulous filming. And a lot of fun. Sleep. Sunshine. Walking. Gezi Park. Carpet shops. Babel Café. Writing. Antique stores. Coffee. Sunset at the Bosporus. Home. Band meeting. Door-to-door shop delivery. A music video. Making a plan for a day out of Istanbul. The gentle sound of the word “island”.
A dear friend from Hamburg coming to visit. A happy reunion. Finding our way in and through Beşiktaş. Meeting a friend. Smoking a cigarette under the tree. Sunlight. Glasses. Tea from paper cups. The gentle scent of seawater. Blue sky. Tangerines. Rolling papers without glue and with a crown. A timetable. Childhood stories. A short bus ride. The taste of Ezme. A ferry. The successful promotion of lemon squeezing devices. Doves. Water. A beautiful skyline. Peaceful quietness. Relaxing ears. An island. A beach. Cats. Closed shops. Freshly made pide. And Ayran. Dogs. And even more cats. Empty streets. Houses. Front gardens. Friendly four-legged company. An outdoor fitness-studio playground. The sunset. Golden water. Cliffs. Dog company still. But no cats anymore. Melancholy. Vibrations. Another tiny fitness park. Joy. Silence. Trees. Darkness. Barking. Louder. Aggressively. Dogs. Coming from somewhere. Getting closer. Coming for us. Fast beating hearts. Teeth. Pure mortal agony. (No kidding. Never ever in my life have I been more scared to death. But our easygoing dog company handled the situation very wisely. And we just copied what he did: keep calm – or at least act as if – and carry on walking). Our savior. Kurtarici (without the i-dots). Twilight zone scenario. Adrenaline. Being shocked, but alive. Relief.
A beautiful and very old wooden house. The end of a long walk. Chairs. A teahouse. Entertaining dogfights (and being glad no dogs were fighting us). The time. A bench. Our savior dog squeezing in between us. Saying goodbye. Cats. A lot of them. Counting 35. The arrival of the ferry. Cat invasion. And an old lady. Returning to the city. Leaving all fears behind and looking forward. Which now – after having shared part 2 of my Istanbul experience during the very last hours of 2015 – is the only New Year’s resolution there is left (although there is part 3 to come, still, but that wasn’t part of the deal ;-)).
With all of my heart I wish all of you blessed new beginnings. Embrace!