I spent my last semester of college studying in Istanbul, and instantly fell in love with the city. I explored the myriad boroughs, sipped on Turkish çay (tea), and often sat along the Bosphorous river, feet dangling like a small boy, gazing out across the expanse between Europe and Asia (the river divides the two).
Now, years later, I returned for a few weeks, and the same charm prevailed: Istanbul is magical.
And nothing inspires its mystique more than the river. If Rome is the eternal city, then Istanbul--formerly the ‘center of the world’ and the Byzantine and Ottoman empires--is the timeless one.
The Bosphorous has seen the passage of civilizations, power, identity; here all things are fleeting, yet all things enduring. On clear days, it’s an ethereal turquoise straight, a starling pinstripe halving concrete fabric. On grey ones, tankers, barges, and water taxies wheel like bumper cars, churning the water into slush. On all days, old men cast into the water’s chest in silence.
It reminds me that we change a little every day. And every day, the Bosphorous looks a little different, too. This time around, sitting along its edge, it makes me question what the city straddles in my own heart, as the fisherman’s rod next to me buckles and bends, pulling toward the surface.