Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - 2 comments

İstanbul'da Sonbahar

Akşama doğru azalırsa yağmur 
Kız kulesi ve adalar 
Ah burda olsan çok güzel hala 
İstanbul'da sonbahar 

If the rain wanes as the evening nears,
Maiden's Tower and the Princes' Islands 
If you only were here, it's still so beautiful 
Autumn in İstanbul
- Teoman, "İstanbul'da Sonbahar"

I recently entered a photo contest called “Dört Mevsim İstanbul” (Four Seasons in Istanbul).  It was fun to walk down memory lane as I scrolled through my (thousands upon thousands) of Istanbul photos, trying to narrow it down to just four per season to send in. 
Autumn is by far my favourite season, and besides Tennessee, with its brilliant foliage and “smoking barns”, Istanbul is my favourite place to experience it.  The city just does fall so well.  It’s not that there are really all that many trees (as the Gezi Park folks made us well aware) to make the city change colours, and there aren’t really any seasonal events to speak of - at least nothing that resembles pumpkin carving or hayrides or bobbing for apples.  :)  For me it’s more about the way that rain seems to suit the hüzünlü (melancholy) city, the way the few leaves that DO change stand out so brilliantly against the grey backdrop of the ancient metropolis,  the excitement of the appearance of the roasted chestnut carts in the squares and along the waterfronts, the warmth of a cinnamony cup of sahlep on the Bosphorus ferry, and the cozy smell of coal and woodstoves that fills the air as the nights get chilly.
I spent a weekend in Istanbul at the beginning of November, proudly accompanying my Turkish mom to the book fair where she was presenting the book she just published (!) and I’ll be up there again the last weekend of the month for my “little sister’s” isteme (when her boyfriend’s family will come to officially ask for her hand in marriage) so I am getting my happy fill of autumn goodness there this year.  
Here are some of the “final candidates” for the photo contest, as well as a few favourites from my time there last weekend.  İyi sonbaharlar!  Happy fall!

Chestnut carts

Leaf-crunching in Gülhane Parkı

'Tis the season for pomegranates!  (Thirty-five cents a kilo here - jealous?)

Creamy sahlep is made from crushed orchid roots and tastes 
best with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Surprise bursts of colour around the city


What a 'tesadüf', I'm sitting with the season's first cup of Sahlep in my hand -with lot's of cinnamon on top:) Even the weather in Adana has now entered that chilly fall-stage, although my friends always seem to skip fall and run directly to winter with their 'Kış geldi'.

I heard a lot of "kış geldi" today, too, as we flipped from "sunny and beautiful" to "cold and rainy" overnight. Kış gelmesin yaa - yaşasın sonbahar!