Wednesday the 18th of April was a busy day. On the way back from TEVITOL dorm dedication we learned that the traffic on the Bosphorus Bridge was being regulated as the strong winds started to move it more than usual. That caused traffic jams of course that backed up the connector roads. After we made it home, we waited until 6:00 PM or so and decided to take the ferry to the restaurant rather than risking a big traffic jam on the bridge. Surprisingly, the ferry was not crowded at all as one would expect during the rush hour. The storm was hanging over the city with its visible cloud structure adding more drama to the vista. When we arrived at Karakoy, we were surprised once more as the usually hustle and bustle streets around the landing were almost quiet. Probably most of the people either left early to be home and safe, or were not risking getting caught in the traffic and staying put where they were.
After a short walk we arrived at Tunel (with one “n”), quite possibly the shortest subway in the world. A short ride of a minute or two brought us to Istiklal Avenue, one of the most famous, once glorious shopping and promenade street in Istanbul. Since we had plenty of time we slowly strolled towards the restaurant and made a pit stop at Narmanli Han to look inside the courtyard. Its gate has been closed for quite a while and the building is in desperate need of repair. With its rich history, it certainly deserves a better future. The guard allowed me to step inside the gate and take a few more shots and showed me the storm damage to one of the chimneys because of the wind. The gorgeous wisteria was sadly stained by soot where it dared to climb to the chimney tops. At the corner of the big gate on the street a young man was petting a white cat from Narmanli Han. When he left, a plastic mannequin head wearing a sleeping mask appeared behind him with a price tag, of what, it was difficult to discern. Even a dummy may need to cover its eyes to fall asleep I guess.
We arrived at Asmali Cavit restaurant to meet my cousins, their families, and my uncle and his wife. They all arrived on time, my uncle looking great as usual at 84. We all expressed how jealous we were of his appearance and dignified manners. For several hours, we enjoyed each others company, the young generation’s presence among us, good food, reminisced about the old days, and remembered the family members who were no longer with us. Around 11:00 PM it was time to leave and we realized that it was raining hard outside. Ergun called for a taxi for the three of us, and the others headed back to where they parked their cars. Another surprise was waiting for us, the usually comfortable moving traffic at that time was going very slowly. The driver, sometimes taking shortcuts on the back streets managed to move through the traffic jam and we were home in about an hour. The actual distance: about 15 miles. As he went the wrong way on some of the back streets, the driver told us that driving like that was for the pros, and we should not try that!
A very enjoyable evening indeed and my uncle said that we would do this again when Elif and Mina arrived. We are looking forward to that now.