As you know I was recently in Istanbul visiting one of my bezzies Magi, in Beşiktaş and having a bit of a birthday treat.
It really was a magical week and one that was filled with what will be lasting memories. We had our planned adventures (a trip to the Islands, a ‘party in the park’ type event and a fair bit of shopping) and then there were the little unplanned occurrences that said to me ‘child of the universe we bestow birthday blessings upon you’.
Mags is an ILETS Instructor at a language school (IELTS = International English Language Testing System) and so a working girl, but not the regular 9-5. Therefore, we planned our excursions around her schedule and had the impromptu wanders as and when.
One afternoon when she arrived home earlier than expected, we decide to make the short journey to Dolmabache Palace; home to six generations of Sultans and Ataturk himself (Ataturk was the very last resident of this magnificent building which is now virtually a shrine to him). I have seen this magnificent building from the bus and from the ferry, gleaming stone during the day and the clock tower beautifully lit with the reflection shining out across the deep black water like jewels of the Bosporus.
We start by taking some photos of the Clock Tower (the architecture is simply divine) as we approach, then wander through security just chatting and not paying attention to our surroundings. We are still chatting and clicking away with cameras when we realise the ticket booth is actually closed…eh? We both look up at the massive clock tower that we have been aiming our cameras at and there, staring us in the face,both hands are on the 4. It’s closed and we have missed it by twenty minutes.
The Dolmabache trip goes back on the ‘To Do list’ and we decide to go and sit at the clock tower café for a break. It’s packed to the rafters but hanging around and perseverance gains us a table right on the front. Getting served is even harder. The poor young waiter who obviously has our station is run off his feet. We eventually get our Americano and lattes in tiny cups and sit, sipping something that bears no resemblance to Americano and Latte for the princely sum of 5tl a pop.
We are just chatting away when I shout ‘OH’ without anytime to stop myself. There, right up close, I’ve just seen a pod of two dolphins arch out and dive back into the Bosporus. The shout gains me a few stares from the posh or posing as posh Turks and a few smirks…… ‘Oh look another crazy English lady’.
Slightly miffed by this, I say loudly: ‘bak yunus balik geldi’ (look dolphins have come). Their mocking expressions turn to one of interest and then excitement as they too catch sight of the fins and soon all you can hear is the scrapping of café chairs as folk grab cameras and position themselves for the best shot. It’s a commotion and I’ve caused it…. ooops!
Magi and I point and shoot at each sighting but these beautiful creatures are too fast for us and the best we manage to digitally capture is a sinking fin. It really doesn’t matter anyway as the memory will remain and I will always believe that Mother Nature was sending me birthday blessings.
Whether you call it fate, luck or coincidence these little extras made a wonderful trip into a magical one. I was so happy with the Dolphins and that would have been enough of a highlight for me but, the universe had other ideas and there was more to come………….