A Winter Day's Bike In Istanbul
A Sunday to be remembered
It's bizarre to have a nice Sunday with bicycle ride in January. Though a couple of times, I remember cycling in January and February; but this Sunday was completely different. It was warm enough that I had a two and a half hours of ride.
We can feel the effects of global warming closer day by day. Maybe this Sunday is just a small benefit beside the oncoming calamities.
Anyway, I started my ride from my home in Goztepe and followed seaside cycling tracks to Bostanci. Then I had a little rest in Suadiye, our old neighborhood where I lived most of 80's.
I returned home via "Bagdat Caddesi" (Baghdad Street). Here are the pictures from this magnificent tour that I'll always remember.
Caddebostan coastline was created in 1986 by filling the sea. I go there for cycling since then. Of course, those times, this place was not so clean and neat.
I was reading National Geography then and envied the beautiful cycling paths in US and in Europe. After 20 years, I'm glad that we have such places at last.
Cycle path starts from Feneryolu (near Kadikoy) and reaches up to Kartal which makes nearly 15 kilometers.
This may seem ridiculously short for those living in Europe especially. But in Turkey, it's like heaven after years of deprivation.
The jogging path goes along with the cycle path. Both the cycle and jogging paths go through trees, flowers and beautiful scenery.
Besides making sports, it's a great pleasure to run on this path.
In Turkey, it's very hard to see happy faces on the streets. We gradually became an unhappy, angry nation in the last decades.
But this Sunday, nearly everyone was smiling. It was some big thing to see.
In Bostanci, when I was shooting pictures of the scenery, I noticed a man approaching riding his bicycle. He was also carrying bags filled with some stuff.
Then he started to take out the food and gave it to the cats waiting eagerly for him. Apparently he was doing it for a long time.
I went out to cycle for just and hour, but if the weather is so warm, I thought "why shouldn't I extend the ride and visit my old neighborhood in Suadiye?"
We lived nearly 8 years in Suadiye. I still remember the good old days when we watched the trains passed by.
Also the memories with Commodore64, playing football in the backyard of a high school, picking up figs from the trees, the legendary Bordeaux victory of Fenerbahce, snow holidays of '85 and '87. And the image of round building just before our building.
Round building (yuvarlak apartman in Turkish) was one of the highest buildings in '80s and it was standing just in front of us, all the time. It's one of my significant images from those times.
This Sunday was also important for me just for another reason. It's my first time I've taken pictures of my old neighborhood.
I sometimes pay small visits, especially by car. After an exhausted day, or when I need some peace, I come here. I usually stay a few minutes, look at our apartment, round building and return to home. Yes it was my first time taking pictures.
Yes, this is our old apartment on the 4th floor.
After 20 years, nothing much changed in this neighborhood. It's apparently cleaner. And the schoolyard where we used to play football is not here anymore. The private school was demolished and a tall resident was build ten years ago.
In 1986, I remember starting my bicycle tour from our home to Caddebostan seaside. In my mind, there was two things, Commodore 64 games and the matches of Mexico86. Because of the huge time lag, we watched the matches at 2am or so.
But those were the times that the world cup was really a fun to watch. Also, in one of these nights, I watched the great goal he scored against England. In Turkey, nearly all of us supported Argentina, and they'd got the cup.
On my way back to home, I used the route over the Baghdad Street.
It's one of modern and popular locations in Istanbul.
In 80s, we were riding bicycle here. But in time, this street changed a lot. It's getting more and more elegant each year.
In my youth, there were not so many nice cafes and restaurants. But it's still fun to ride bicycle here.
The pavements are broad and suitable to make a smooth ride.
The tour is over. After a two and a half hours bicycle ride, I arrived home very tired, but also happy that I found this opportunity in winter.