Crossing the Beautiful Bosphorus, Istanbul

A ferryboat waiting at the dockside in Kadiköy.

Last Thursday I took the ferry over to the European side to attend the 2010-11 opening session of the International Women of Istanbul (IWI). I love travelling on Istanbul's ferries. There is something so calming about being out on the water, and the views are spectacular! Of course, for the Istanbullu, they are a normal means of transport for commuting back and forth. I looked around me and the commuters were sitting, like commuters everywhere, lost in their reverie and oblivious to the beauty around them.

I could see the Blue Mosque, the Aya Sofia, and the Topkapı Palace, 
in one panoramic view. (It's a pity about the pollution.)

I travelled from Kadiköy to Beşıktaş, and in that short distance I saw the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and Topkapı Palace, in a single amazing panorama; the Galata Tower, with the little Maiden's Tower opposite; and the beautiful Dolmabahçe Palace, looking just as a Sultan's palace should look. I am so lucky to be living in Istanbul. The reason I decided to join the IWI is so that I can join their touring groups, and take lots more photographs of Istanbul. I want to develop my photography techniques, and I have even joined a photography club, so here's hoping!

Here is a cruise ship leaving Istanbul for the Mediterranean. Obviously one of the causes of pollution in this city.

Saturday night was Counter Tenor Rudi Romeri's farewell concert, held at Christ Church, the Crimean Memorial Church, in aid of the rebuilding of the organ at St Helena's Chapel in the grounds of the British Consulate. The chapel was badly damaged during the bombing in November 2003, which killed our Consul General, Roger Short. Rudi is returning to his native Holland after many years in Istanbul.

Rudi warming up before the concert.

We saw this evil-looking cat in the rectory garden, 
while we waited for the concert.

This gave us yet another opportunity to ride the waves across the Bosphorus. Afterwards we took the tram up Istiklal and caught the dolmuş back from Taksim. Being a Saturday night, Istiklal was  a seething mass of people. I'm really glad we were on the tram and not trying to fight our way up the street. It was an amazing sight, and extraordinary that the tram managed not to run anyone over!


A Flying Visit to South Africa

One of the monkey invaders in Jane's garden. They are always looking for something to steal, and are bold enough to raid the kitchen, 
even when there are people are around!

The week in South Africa went by so quickly, and here I am back in Istanbul again. We had a wonderful time there, even though the weather was fairly grim. We had a couple of days of sunshine, but the wind was cold, so neither David nor I had adequate clothing for the weather. We had expected it to be somewhat warmer, but we should have known better; the British chose Natal to settle in because the weather reminded them of England! The weather was so gloomy that I didn't take many photos at all, so Jane and I just had to shop, there was nothing else we could do. Fortunately, on the day of Shannon's Sports Day it was bright and sunny, although chilly.

There were some fun races, this was called "Flutterbys".

Jane and Shannon line up in the parents' race 
called the "Dung Beetle Derby".

Most of the parents should have been disqualified for cheating, but Jane and Shannon completed the race with style!

I do enjoy the way that sportsmanship and competition is still nurtured in South Africa. Sports Day had a theme, The Nature Trail, and all the races were named accordingly. The event began with the children marching onto the track in their houses. The music was the same one they used to use for Monty Python's Flying Circus, so we half expected a huge foot to descend from the sky to crush the parents!

Shannon carefully balances her block.

 Shannon runs to add her hoop to her team's pile in "Harvest Time".

Shannon had all four grandparents there to watch her, lucky girl! The day coincided with our visit, and that of Harry and Yvonne. We were all so proud of Shannon as she showed great spirit in all her events, and was obviously enjoying herself. She was quite disappointed that her house didn't win the trophy, but cheered up at the thought of another chance to win next year.

We were all so proud that Shannon was chosen 
to represent her house in the Year 1 relay.

Can you believe it? We only arrived back in Istanbul yesterday, and already Jane says that the temperature has soared, and is approaching 40°C. Just our luck!


Özlem Süer's Fashion Show on Kız Kulesı

The Maiden's Tower (Kız Kulesı)

Last Saturday I went with Ipek, and her sister-in-law, Esra, to a fashion show, in a unique location. It was held around the base of the Maiden's Tower, in the Bosphorus. There has been a tower on the island since 408 BC, when the Athenian General, Alcibiades, built one to control the movement of Persian ships in the Bosphorus Strait. It has undergone many renovations and different usages since then. The tower was even used in the 1999 James Bond movie, 'The World is Not Enough', before it was opened as a restaurant and café in the year 2000.

Ipek and Esra

The name 'Maiden's Tower' (Kız Kulesı in Turkish) is as result of a legend. It is said that a Byzantine Emperor heard a prophesy that his daughter would be killed by a snake, so he had all the snakes in the area killed, and then isolated her on the island, so she would be safe. Unfortunately, there was a snake hidden in a fruit basket which was delivered to the island, and the prophesy came true.

Today, the tower has a popular restaurant downstairs, and a cafeteria-bar upstairs, with a 360 degree view of the Bosphorus, and the old city, which is especially stunning at night. The fashion show was a one-off special event, to show Turkish fashion designer Özlem Süer's new collection.

The butterflies on top of the tower

To get to the tower, we took a shuttle boat and joined the throng around the base of the tower. There was such a festive air about the place. Girls with wings fluttered above us throughout the event, like enormous butterflies. There were waiters bearing trays of wine and champagne, and others carrying baskets of fruit for all the guests. While we waited for the show to start, three girls on stilts, dressed like eighteenth century courtesans, walked among the crowd, and clowns pulled faces at us.

 These ladies were very entertaining as they posed 
and fluttered their eyelashes

 The clowns were great fun too

Then the show started. Özlem Süer's dresses were gorgeous! The models looked about seven foot tall, then I noticed why. They were wearing massive clogs, it was a miracle that only one tripped up. The show was over all too soon and we gradually made our way back to shore. What a fabulous evening we had. Thank you Ipek and Esra for being such good company, and taking me to such a wonderful event!

Gorgeous dresses on beautiful models

This dress was my favourite

Flowers are this year's must have!

Those clogs made the models look seven feet tall!

Özlem Süer takes a bow to well-deserved applause


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I couldn't resist this one!