It’s been two years this month since I was in Istanbul last. Fellow blogger and travel nut @Monica530 and I had some recent back and forth about the lovely city and I mentioned my blizzard experience there. I agreed to post a few photos which are unfortunately few.
I was back in Turkey for business and the night before I took a train to Ankara, the blizzard hit. I was crossing the Bosphorus on the ferry from Europe to the Asian (Anatolian) side where I would stay at my friends Cedric and Arzu’s place. The sky was sinking down on the city and the water was slate gray. Even as I watched, the silhouettes of Old Istanbul — Top Kapi Palace, Ayasofia, and Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque) — started to disappear. In fact, the approaching gray was erasing Europe outside the ferry window. I grabbed my camera and ran for the deck.
When I opened the door from the passenger cabin, the wind had picked up so much that it flung the heavy door wide open and my first two steps were sideways through the middle passage of the ship. I took a couple of shots as snowflakes melted on the lens and ducked back in breathless.
When we docked at Kadıköy I faced a serious gale as I dragged my suitcase through the gathering slush. I called one of my friends from the pier as the glass of the half-phone booth rattled around me. I wanted to climb up into the flimsy shelter. I was totally not dressed for a blizzard. She told me to wait. She’d walk down and it would be easier than directions. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I was leaning a bit in the wind.
The city shut down for a full day. Everything was closed. There is no snow plowing in Istanbul like back in Wisconsin, and since this wasn’t going to stick anyway, everyone just plodded through the muck for a couple days. The next morning’s train ride to Ankara had some nice scenery. Ankara wasn’t hit as hard and I remembered from my days living there (see my book The Yogurt Man Cometh) that it adapted well to the snow. Within 24 hours everyone had chains on their tires, schools reopened and life went on.
Read more about The Yogurt Man Cometh: Tales of an American Teacher in Turkey. Now in its 4th printing! (Coming soon in Turkish as well.)
Got any winter memories of Istanbul? Please share in the comments!