WWhere to start…maybe at the beginning. Image a 7 day period,half spent in the youngest most modern city in the world and the other half in the seat of ancient Byzantium. From Dubai to Istanbul in a heartbeat, from hot to freezing, self flushing toilets to squats, from sand underfoot to smooth cobbles… all manner of extraordinary and varied sights. We sat in the shadow of the worlds tallest building, stood in the underground water cisterns build by 7000 slaves between the 3rd and 4th century and remain dumbstruck by mans ability to create magnificent buildings, be they mosques or churches glass pinnacles reaching into the blue or domes covering unimaginable areas of space. We visited a mosque in Abu Dhabi that was completed 3 years ago, constructed entirely out of white marble with columns and walkways inlaid with semi precious stone and mother of pearl, craftsmanship that makes my heart sing. Without doubt wonderful craftsmanship still exists in our crazy world.Proof can be found in the Grand mosque of Abu Dhabi.
From very new escalators that activate when you walk up to them, to marble floors worn away by hundreds of years of guards standing in one spot for hours at a time in the freezing temperatures that occur in Turkey, just marching on the spot to keep warm.
The streets of Istanbul bustle with activity….. and cats! They are everywhere and appear to rule the city, albeit in a strange manner, the shop owners all have their cat-on-tap and feed them regularly, I was enchanted to see them everywhere, even in the most holy of holy’ s…. keeping warm by propping themselves up next to a light source or a beautiful kelim, they are as abundant as the superb restaurants and constant Apple Tea providers, ancient buildings and warm-hearted locals.
Istanbul Rocks and Dubai S(t)ands… try the mix, it is dangerously delightful and awe- inspiring melding of ages.