Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I am sitting in a little neighborhood café in Istanbul, listening to three guys play Turkish music. It’s the right way to finish off an excellent Turkish day.

We spent most of the day on Turkish Airlines flight 82 from Boston. Although it was already daytime here when we left Boston, it was nighttime for us and we slept much of the trip, at least when we weren’t eating. The guy next to me squirmed around a lot, but I still slept pretty well. Alla apparently did not sleep as much, worrying about the airplane, the weather and the flight. If there was any excitement, I missed it. I liked the legroom and the food and didn’t care much that the in-flight entertainment system wasn’t completely working.

I wanted to take a long walk across the bridge to the Asian part of Istanbul and buy baklava from a famous confectionary. Alla had a closer baklava place in mind, so we walked there first, through wind-driven sleet. By the time we reached her chosen place we had gotten cold and wet enough that I didn’t press to extend our walk to the other side of the bridge. Anyway, we’ll pass through again on our way back to Boston in April.

After we bought baklava to bring to Minsk, we discovered another confectionary we had not noticed last time, so we stopped in to sample some of their treats and buy some Turkish delights to bring home. Alla didn’t think she could eat dinner after all that, but since we’d come downtown more or less specifically to eat at Amedros we went over to pick out a couple of light dishes. Mmm, am I glad! We already knew the menu pretty well from our visit two years ago, and we ordered brilliantly. Or maybe they cooked brilliantly. In any event, we had a great time and a great meal. Ibrahim, our server, took really good care of us too.

When we walked home after dinner we had to go slowly because by now it’s snowing and the soles of Alla’s shoes are pretty slippery. In any event, as we approached our hotel we noticed these three guys playing in front of a little fish house. While Alla wanted nothing more than to stay in our cozy room, I came across the street to hear the music. They’re pretty much playing only for me, though the maître d’ keeps running out to invite people in as they pass by.

We’re happy to see Istanbul in winter. Even at night it’s beautiful. And even more than in summer, we find Turks to be warm and hospitable. We’re very glad that Turkish Airlines lured us to stop on our way back to Minsk.

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