Cats run Istanbul. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it myself. They go where they please, into stores and cafes. They are well-fed and generally healthy and polite (if it is within the scope of politeness to enter someone else's property and make yourself at home there, of course). The shopkeepers leave out food and water for them, and it's common to see a kitty bed in the stores. (Someone told me that the locals would rather have cats than rats. Totally.) I can't tell you how delighted I was to be around all of these kitties, though I'm sure you can imagine.
Here are the photos.
I think I counted 12 or so cats in this one frame of vision. Clearly, this was their HQ.
I love how this guy looks like he's trying to put it on plastic!
My travels rolled on! Maybe one of my craziest travel days ever was the time I left Iceland at 7:30 am (which meant we were up at 3:30 am), landed in Stockholm at 12:30 pm--which became 1:30 pm thanks to the spring time change (There goes Mother Nature, jamming up my plans.), and then flew to Istanbul that same day at 5 pm. Which means I raced home and had about 20 minutes to un- and re-pack before getting back to Arlanda. It was just about the longest day ever.
I've been a lucky duck this past month or so. Istanbul was incredible! It's always thrilling to be in a new place but this is a city so vibrant (Wait until you see the graffiti.) and full of history. I felt moved walking the ancient streets, marveling at the houses built into the hills, and measuring the cityscape in minarets. I walked over the Galata Bridge and tried to imagine discovering this place, finding it untouched and knowing you were onto a spot for the ages.
And then there are the omnipresent photos of that elegant gentleman, Kemal Ataturk. Some people leave books or paintings as their legacy, this guy left a country. Between his reforms and his dapper stylings, he is one crushworthy dude.
But really, my favorite part of Istanbul? The cats. Oh man. They get a post unto themselves.
This is ayran, one of my new favorite treats. I can't drink it alongside a meal, as it's too filling. But I love it on its own as a snack. This one was homemade and had yummy chunky bits. It was sorta like a feta shake.
And this was some outdated stuff at the desk I was using in our office there. There are some new life forms sprouting underneath that Tupperdome.
Turkish delight! I couldn't get enough. I availed myself of the free samples in the shops, you bet I did! In the middle are cloves, which you nibble on after a meal to freshen your breath. I gotta bring that to Sweden!
We took a ferry to Bursa one day.
Pretty, pretty Bursa.
The White Castle of Istanbul? These are wet burgers, garlicy and sloppy and, well... I should have had one.
Hey Beavis, that's "100% BUT" döner. Heheh.
XL-ing these two because I love them so much. This is the fish market alongside the water. These are the seagulls hanging out on top of it.