Monday, March 13, 2006

Restful state of mind

Mixture of styles
Originally uploaded by amsterboy.
This was not what I was expecting in a city of 20 million people. I have not felt this peaceful and clear-headed in months. I am in Istanbul and I love it.

Yesterday I took a taxi to the other side of the Golden Horn, to the old quarters of Istanbul. I walked into Gülhane Park. After 10 minutes I found myself on top of a hill, with an amazing view over the Bosphorus. I ordered tea (tea and hot water correctly in separate cans) and just breathed. I took my notebook out of my bag and managed to conceptualise a plan for the future of theoneminutesjr. Something I was not able to do at the office with emails coming in and phone ringing.

I am staying in a decaying hotel in Taksim called Grand Hotel Londres. It was built in the end of the 19th century. Hemingway is one of the people who have stayed there. The first thing I heard when entering the lobby on Saturday was parrots.

Istanbul is excellent for shopping. For instance I found a great shop called Fabrica Features selling notebooks, bags and folders designed by the Benetton design and art centre. I have not found this brand in Amsterdam. I must say, I am now a proud owner of a funky notebook.

A while ago I walked into a garden, took off my shoes, ordered a coffee and a muffin. They are playing loungy jazz. I am sitting on pillows and doing my work emails. I love this city.

Istanbul seems like a city for wandering and exploring. You have to leave the main streets, take the next corner to the left and then maybe right and you might find the loveliest small shop or cafe. I am so fortunate that my work will bring me back in a few months.

p.s. Something that I noticed also on my first visit. 80 % of the people on the streets are men. Mostly young men in bigger groups touching each other or holding hands. The lack of women in public places feels odd.

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