Author Archives: Eleka

Sound of music on Istiklal

Sound of music on Istiklal

This lovely and hot evening in August I took a little walk from Galata towards Taksim. Nothing special in this route in itself. I often stroll along Istiklal, taking sidetracks..

Istanbul, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Have seen street musicians there every day and I can tell that I have contradicting feelings about street music.. Can be compared to street food. One can witness an extraordinary experience but also disappointment sometimes is possible. Continue reading

Time for tulips

Time for tulips

I know that tulip festival in Istanbul has come to its end this year. The petals have fallen, beauty has faded. The grace of tulips lasts only for a short while. Now the tulip time has begun here in Estonia, the country where I live. I hope, sincerely, that some day I can take part of this beauty parade in Emirgan park, Gülhane park,Yildiz park, Sultanahmet square… whereever in Istanbul.

Istanbul tulip festival, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul tulip festival, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

I admire this modest, simple, yet sophisticated charm of tulips. I look at them every morning in my garden. Every night brings them closer to perfection.

Tulip by William J Smith

A slender goblet wrethed in flame,
From Istanbul the flower came
And brought its beauty, and its name.

Now as I lift it up, that fire
Sweeps on from dome to golden spire
Until the East is all aflame:

By curving petals held entire
In cup of ceremonial fire,
Magnificence within a frame.

1954

Istanbul tulip festival, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul tulip festival, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

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Kos through our eyes

some photos from our Kos island “Greece”

Kos - Greece, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane and Kaire Raiend

Kos - Greece, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane and Kaire Raiend

all photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane and Kaire Raiend

Kos - Greece, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane and Kaire Raiend

Kos - Greece, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane and Kaire Raiend

Kos is located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea south of Kalymnos and north of Nisyros at the ancient Keramiko gulf (Kerme Körfezi) or Kos gulf, just 3 nautical miles from Asia Minor coast. It is the third largest island in the Dodecanese, its extent 290,29 kilometers and its circumnavigation is around 60 nautical miles. From the prehistoric times it was an important channel of the sea ways that started from the Black Sea and along the shoreline of Asia Minor and the islands of Aegean and reached North Africa. Continue reading

Looking for spring in Bodrum

Looking for spring in Bodrum

Obviously, we all were tired of this neverending winter, loads of office work and killing routine.
In Estonia it can take nervewrackingly long time until spring shows its warm and sunny face. Especially this year. Though we hadn´t much snow this winter , we´ve had „lousy ski-weather“ with slush, rain and cold winds until April… But enough of this. Bygone! Some e-mails whizzed between Estonia and Turkey and…

Bodrum-Turkey,  photos by Kaire Raiend

Bodrum-Turkey, photos by Kaire Raiend

Two dear friends of mine, Kaire and Iiris, me and two of my children took off to Bodrum at the end of March.
Why Bodrum?! In March?!
The reason is that we have a secret garden there… Let´s say – we simply do some gardening there before gardening time starts in Estonia. The secret place is Hotel Gülec http://www.hotelgulec.com/indexeng.htm and we enjoy every minute being there, planting and „re-organizing“ flowers in the garden. We help to tidy and decorate this garden before the season start in Bodrum. To be honest, garden is the gem of this pansion. Just a thought of breakfast served in the sunny garden under tangerine trees and bougainvilleas… In March apricot is in blossom, yellow plump lemons ready to be picked, geraniums showing their shy buds…

Bodrum-Turkey,  photos by Kaire Raiend

Bodrum-Turkey, photos by Kaire Raiend

Choosing new plants, haggling with the market seller… then carrying „home“ selected goods, thinking where to plant all these beauties, how to group the colors. Have a cup of tea. Or two J All that stuff, you know.

Off-season time in Bodrum is just perfect for us – no tourist-stress, calm and laid-back atmosphere. Already it is possible to sit at the seaside (with a cup of warming sahlep). No, we wouldn´t recommend swimming in March… too cold. We´d suggest a visit to a hamam instead (its just across the street from the bus station). Eateries are not crowded. One can see more of local people´s life. Continue reading

Reading about Istanbul “Just for heart and soul…” part-2

Reading about Istanbul, part-2,   Just for heart and soul…

There are some books which have influenced my understanding of life in Turkey, its history and present, customs and spirit.

Usually I don´t buy the books at the airport, because of lack of time and concentration, but Buket Uzuner´s My name is Istanbul was a temptation I couldn´t resist. I think this is one of the most poetic books I´ve ever read. Short stories, glimpses like a kaleidoscope. Istanbul like bits of colorful glass changing patterns. In this book Istanbul, the mighty and mysterious woman, narrates her story looking back through the centuries. Very elegant and vigorous. Not possible to retell, it´s an impression.

Kasımpaşa-İstanbul, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Kasımpaşa-İstanbul, photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Some years ago I had read Orhan Pamuk in Estonian. Snow was the name of his book. It was translated into Estonian shortly after Pamuk´s Nobel prize. I really tried to follow the story but at that point of time I was not ready. I believe I couldn´t understand the context, I had never been to Turkey. There were too many missing bits and pieces in this picture.  Continue reading

Reading about Istanbul

Reading about Istanbul, 1

 

Well, last time I was in Istanbul in November 2011 during Kurban Bayrami. If I hadn´t known in advance that my visit coincide this holiday, it would have remained unnoticed for me. Kurban Bayrami wasn´t visible in the central Istanbul. On the other hand Turkish TV programs were constantly reporting how this major Islamic holiday is celebrated all over the country. Visiting Istanbul was really nice, as usual.

I met some friends, strolled along the streets, visited mosques, wonderful exhibitions, had some genuinely good food. Pure delight.

 

Just a remark – during that visit I also made a short trip to Canakkale. No, I haven´t seen Istanbul enough, but Istanbul isn´t Turkey and vice versa. Some adventure would not harm, so I thought.

Returning to a familiar place is always a secure choice. Doesn´t require too much effort, you know. Istanbul has become somewhat familiar to me, I guess. Canakkale was worth an effort. But I´ll stick to Istanbul now and report of other places in coming posts.

Istanbul and Golden Horn, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul and Golden Horn, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

 

While I am not in Istanbul I truly miss this place. Gercekten. And what´s the best remedy for that?

I try to go back there in my mind. Reconstruct places through texts, photos, daydreaming… Sounds like a severe disease, really J There are some web sources I visit quite regularly in order to update my knowledge about what´s going on in this city/country.

 

Ortakoy Camii, Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Ortakoy Camii, Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Some nice reading


Sure, there are presumably thousands of blogs praising Istanbul. One of my recent favorites is Turkey´s for lifewww.turkeysforlife.com which is run by a British couple living in Fethiye. Therefore, this blog is mostly concentrating on Fethiye and its surroundings. But they also pay a lot of attention to Istanbul. Blog is written in a humorous and lively style. I recommend. Good links to other sources. Continue reading

Art is everywhere

Art is everywhere

I think it is common knowledge that at some point we don´t notice beauty in our everyday surroundings. We feel stressed because of our obligations, become stony, blind and careless. We navigate daily on certain streets at certain times with certain thoughts in mind.

stunning 3D Kadikoy, Istanbul photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

stunning 3D Kadikoy, Istanbul photos by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

I feel that travelling abroad opens my heart, all senses are alert. I notice and process more of what I see than at home where everything seems familiar and little boring. But I am convinced that “a piece of art” always makes your day and has the same influence on people as travelling. Art is everywhere and everything. First time in Istanbul I was little confused. I didn´t have time to look for art and beauty in this city. And I couldn´t see it either because it was locked out from my mind. Now returning to Istanbul every now and then I can see beauty in this city. I equally enjoy art in museums, tea houses, galleries, mosques, on the streets. Architecture. Nature. Food. Fashion. Poetry. Music. Stories of people. You name it. It´s everywhere and it´s intertwined. Continue reading

Hamam – source of joy and relaxation “nice girls day at Turkish Bath”

Hamam – source of joy and relaxation

I was tired, exhausted and little sick when I arrived in Istanbul approximately a week ago. Pretty nasty headache was torturing me. Probably the consequence of long working days before my little Turkish holiday. Thus, the prospect for coming free days wasn´t that bright because I wasn´t feeling good. Fortunately, I know what is good for my run-down body and mind.

Turkish bath, Türk Hamamı, Kasımpaşa-Istanbul, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Turkish bath, Türk Hamamı, Kasımpaşa-Istanbul, photo by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

In Estonia we are very fond of sauna, also called Finnish sauna (which is quite hot, usually 80-100 degrees Celsius). Taking a sauna begins by washing oneself up in the warm room and then going to sit in the hot room for some time. Water is thrown on the hot stones and that produces steam and moisturizing heat in sauna. One can also use leafy boughs of birch to gently beat oneself. This has a relaxing effect on the muscles. After sitting in the hot room one can jump into cold water (lake, river, swimming pool etc) or take a refreshing shower. Then one can rest for while in the dressing room having soft drinks. After resting the hot room cycle can begin anew. Continue reading

Secret Places

Secret places

Istanbul is full of special places I haven´t discovered yet. Mysterious places that are not easy to find if you don´t know or recognize the cues. Keeping your valuable cue in your mind you stroll along the streets in search of the secret destination and then you suddenly stumble upon it. Istanbul is welcoming even if it comes to secret places.

Istanbul, by  Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul, by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Secret places should remain secret, isn´t it? Still, I´d like to share one of my secret places where you can experience Istanbul 3 in 1. You might wonder what kind of place is that … It is the botanical garden of the University of Istanbul (http://www.istanbul.edu.tr/fen/en/botanik-bahcesi.php). Just across the street from Süleymaniye camii.

Istanbul, by  Eleka Rugam-Rebane

Istanbul, by Eleka Rugam-Rebane

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Eat or not to eat?!

Eat or not to eat?!

In Istanbul – eat, no doubt! Food is essential in Turkey. I have tried to experience different tastes of Turkish cuisine and not been disappointed once. I have been tempted to taste local street food – eating grilled corn and drinking sahlep on Sultanahmet Square; have been eating at countless restaurants and cafes, enjoying picnics in the courtyard of Süleymaniye mosque and on the shore of Bosphorus. Still, I am very sorry that I have not been able to participate at iftar during Ramazan. But that day will come, that´s for sure.

Istanbul photos by Kaire Raiend

Istanbul photos by Kaire Raiend

Actually, my absolute first experience with real Turkish food was on a conference dinner in Istanbul, near Topkapi palace. The dinner venue was luxurious and so was the food. Six courses and my gastrointestinal tract was totally overloaded. The best of Turkish kitchen was presented at this dinner and, of course, I could not resist. My poor stomach… and foolish me… It resulted with a 2-days diet – only tea, no food. Such a thing can easily happen when you are curious about newly discovered tastes. Now I am smarter, just order a little.

Istanbul photos by Kaire Raiend

Istanbul photos by Kaire Raiend

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