A Glimpse of Turkey


“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartine – French poet

Turkey is often described as a country where “East meets West”. Geographically, the city actually marks the place where the world divides into Asia and Europe. The shimmering Bosphorus Strait, running from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, thus cleaving Istanbul in half, represents the division. It is also a place where eastern and western culture blends seamlessly.

I expected a crowd on my first day at Istanbul since it is a big city. But instead I was greeted with the calmness of the people. A man perched near the mosque entrance caught my attention as flying pigeons caught his.

As I walked along the Galata Bridge, I found fishermen standing quietly next to each other with lines hanging down into the river. They have buckets full of fish and I wanted to know if it is a bait bucket or a catch bucket. I asked them about it with my hands and eyes but we could not figure out a word either of us is saying. I took that as my cue to move on and stop bothering them.

Although populated, the people are incredibly calm. People are sitting on benches waiting for something or for someone. Maybe it’s the winter air or maybe the Turks are just calmer. I don’t know.

After a few days in Istanbul, my friend and I decided to go to Bursa, the gateway to one of Turkey’s highest mountains and the center of winter sports, Uludağ. Here we got to try Alpine skiing with slopes carved through the trees above the resort, and above every hotel. I am proud to say that I did my first 5ft lift jump at Uludağ!

As our stay in Turkey reached its end, I took a glimpse of the snow rain while sipping warm Turkish tea and enjoy the calmness of the city.