Last day of the year, I stepped out from my taxi in Eminonu and the furious Poyraz, funneled directly through the Bosphorus from the Black Sea, which brought also an icy rain to the streets of Istanbul slapped on my face, no matter which direction I would look at. It was not a good start.
The sidewalk beside the pier, normally crowded, looked unusually deserted and the black silohuette of the few pedestrians reflecting on the grey slabs of the ground, moved even faster than their owners, in an attempt to escape from such a hostile weather.
Two days ago, I had arrived to Istanbul to spend the New Year Eve and, as usual, I did want to capture a little of the city life, so I had planned to get to Karakoy by walking from Eminonu. Close to my dropping point, I was already thinking if it was really a good idea.
But Istanbul is my second love, so finally I decided with strong resolution to enjoy the city just as it was: on a dark, cold, rainy and furiously windy early morning. A miserable day, in summary. But a day in Istanbul must be never taken for granted. This was my time no. 23 in the city and, despite the, lets say, unfriendly conditions, the city showed a sharp beauty, and the dark grey of the old city shined against the violence of the black water of the Bosphorus
On my way to Karakoy, less fishermen than the usual were busy in the pavement, which seemed much bigger, since few people were crossing the bridge. Among others, a group of enthusiastic tourists were enjoying their holidays as much as they could.
By the end of the bridge, my feet had got frozen and my legs were totally soaked, even the rain said “here I am!” to my underwear below my jeans.
At that point, the stroll almost had become a polar expedition, and I seriously started to fear for integrity of my fingers and toes. Once I crossed the bridge, I took advantage of the narrow streets of Karakoy, and I remember swearing to myself that if I survive, I should get back to the nearby kofteçi, where an old man serves a wonderful mastika dessert.
The stalls of the hardware bazaar were lonely and little by little, I entered in the more industrial area of Karakoy. But that time, my vision surprisingly started to be just in black and white. While walking, I was staring to the rusty blinds of outlets closed many years ago, the huge puddles in the road, decrepit buildings that had lost all their splendor long ago and the sound of the wind in my ears
As usual, Istanbul was bringing a new experience for me.
And when everything was becoming more grey, I found a charming little street with warm cafes and restaurants, full of colour and life. The other side of Karakoy.
And all of a sudden, I though that a hot cup of salep, topped with aromatic tarçin would be a good idea.
Not a bad day to end a year. Eh?
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