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Breakfast Seranade

By Chris

What a beautiful Istanbul morning… it’s great to be able to feel the seasons shifting. Ozlem and I always laugh, because no matter which  season we are in when we are in Istanbul, there will be always be a moment when we are walking somewhere and I will say, “this is my favorite time of year in Istanbul.”

I found myself getting ready to say the same thing as we sat for breakfast on the balcony overlooking the city under partly cloudy skies. As the fresh breeze carried the scent of the Marmara Sea, with a hint of moisture, and just enough of your typical city smells to remind you that you are in an eight thousand year old city, I noticed something else on being carried on the air, the sound of the accordion being played on the street corner below.

All day long you have trucks driving slowly through neighborhoods or men pushing carts yelling up from the streets the names of the goods or services they offer… anything from tomatoes, fresh milk, or water, to knife sharpening, plastic goods, or “give me your old stuff.”

Every so often, you get the sound of a talented musician walking the streets, the sound of their skills being drowned out by the many taxis, the speeding cars and buses, and of course the garbage trucks.

Today was different, as we sat for breakfast, the air was fresh and quiet as the music approached, it was as if the neighborhood was waiting for the artist to take the stage, he eventually did at the street corner six stories below. After listening for a bit, we took a 5 dollar note and rolled it in a napkin and then a news paper, for weight, and threw it down…. he looked up and played as the wad of paper floated softly down, barely missing getting stuck in the trees by a few inches; he picked it up and stuck it in his pocket and began to play a little louder and a little faster, with a smile!

As he looked up in appreciation, he noticed that there were now other neighbors also having breakfast in their balconies who were appreciating his music. He angled his accordion towards the sky with a sense of encore pride as he traversed the traffic-free street, moving back and forth from sidewalk to sidewalk, he collected money that the summoning neighbors were tossing down to him – it was GREAT!

After a few songs, he stopped to play softly for a baby in a stroller and then walked off down the street… the sounds of his accordion trailing behind him and fading with the breeze. After a few minutes, the sounds of the traffic resumed and a helicopter flying over head reminded me that yes, we are in a modern city 8 thousand plus years old.

This is my favorite time of year in Istanbul!


  1. Dianne Badua says:

    What a beautiful picture you painted with your words. Now I want to go to Istanbul. Thanks.

  2. muriel says:

    Yes a beautiful picture !
    You don’t only rock,you feel ,you smell,you are part of the picture.You love Istambul !
    And we feel it also…Ozlem must be so happy !
    We went for breakfast in Istambul with you both,yeah …
    Read you soon,thank you !

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