Friday, 4 November 2011


Coming back to work on Monday I cried, not because Istanbul was so great, but because I just wanted to knuckle down and get on with my own work, I have finally grown up and now think more about creating the image rather than obsessing about my own image. When I say I cried, I did not actually sob, more a tear escaped. The pressure has piled on this week, extra marking coupled with having to evidence planning on a daily basis rather than half termly. On top of that I have to now mentor 2 more teachers. Curiously I do not mind this but it has already seeped into my available time, and the pressure of all this work plus getting ready for my sale at the end of the month has started to keep me awake ..just a little.

Istanbul, wouldn't want to live there, we both decided we love the city but not the crowds. The traffic and constant thrum of car engines combined with the constant hooting of horns on top of buses belching out clouds of noxious crap, really was a struggle.
Plus the earthquake opened up a can of worms, did you know 70% of the buildings in Istanbul have been constructed with no planning regulation? Since the other 30% are probably mosques, it's a sobering statistic, so we found ourselves drawn to walking the banks of the Bosphorus, which I constantly kept calling the 'river' Emin berated me each time. For mile upon mile you will encounter nothing but fisherman, which kept Leyla entertained.

As did the plethora of cats, they are everywhere, I mean everywhere, often mingling in the parks with feral dogs, who are so passive it was hard to believe they were not trained.

We only crossed the bridge to the old town once, I wanted to revisit this mosque, which in the courtyard has the most beautiful tiled wall, as it's by the sea the gulls swoop across the sky line and one afternoon this amazing sky appeared behind the mosque opposite.

I confess I have forgotten the name of this mosque below, we went unintentionally whilst looking for a museum, previously it was partially closed for renovation, but now here it is in all its glory, I really loved it because it's painted inside not tiled, the colours used are beautifully subtle. There is still a lack of intimacy about the large cavernous spaces but at the same time they do inspire a certain awe.

And so to Bebek, the area we gravitated to the most, it was Leyla who kept wanting to climb up to see what was there, we found some huge houses protected by barbed wire and this stunning view. As always we hypothetically shopped for real estate and decided here was where we wanted to be, quiet with stunning views.

Emin shocked me by saying he preferred Berlin, but I could see why, it's less frenetic and I for one really missed the contemporary art galleries. They are here but impossible to find, believe it or not the Istanbul Biennial was on yet there was no mention of it anywhere, no one knew where it was, it was so frustrating. Plus the weather stayed relatively dry, if very cold meaning it seemed churlish to languish inside museums all day.

Back home I found an interview with the organisers who stated the the lack of publicity was deliberate!! WHY? How is that something to be proud of? The city was heaving with tourists none of whom would get the chance to see some really interesting art work. I doubt the locals knew about it either, certainly none of our au-pairs had heard of it.

Some people are seriously stupid and those organisers were right up there.

Just down the road from here was a museum called Sakip Sabanci Muzesi

It was originally a house owned by one of Turkey's rich cotton merchants, the house was given to the university to stop it being sold off by his heirs, it was an amazing mix of fifties architecture and traditional Turkish antiques, the real bonus was an amazing exhibition of Sophie Calle's photography and video instillation's undertaken with the local population, it made the holiday for me plus Leyla and Emin both enjoyed it too.

I am now going to York for the weekend, to see my beautiful daughter, who has taken the day off work to go shopping with her cash rich sister!!

I have just re-read this post, so bloody boring I've lost my humour mojo, sorry.

1 comment:

materfamilias said...

This post is so great I'm sorry I just can't find time to write much. It's horrid here with marking and reading and prepping, no time at all (well, apparently there's some for bitching). Poor you to have such glories already a memory. . . Can't wait to hear about your show. If I lived there, I'd be coming to it with my checkbook out, for sure!