Spending five weeks in Rome left me with a strong impression about the inner workings of the city. It was a place whose history affected the modern experience in a way that created disarray, but whose inhabitants reacted and adapted to the ever changing conditions.
Istanbul is the city of the world’s desire and contains even more amounts of palimpsest than Rome. In addition to the rich history that was left behind by the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires, Istanbul contains a vast metropolitan area of which we found little of in Rome. As a result the level of chaos in Istanbul overshadows that of which we had previously encountered. The streets, shops, stores, squares, and ferries are hectic hotspots in the city’s veins and arteries.
When we visited the heart of Istanbul, the historic peninsula, last Tuesday, it was apparent how the blood flow of the city comes from the hectic bazaars and spice markets that are dense with crowds of people, animals, goods, and life. The craziness brings a sort of homely atmosphere when all you can hope to do is follow the flow of people in and around the location where you want to go, occasionally dipping out of the stream to visit a store, only to be swallowed up by the blood of the city.
After visiting the poignant historical district, the chaos around the city begins to paint a picture of why everything developed as it did. Everything from the bus stops to the stray animals to the traffic to the flashing neon signs beats with this same disorder that creates a vibrant life for the city.
I can confidently say that in this blood flow of disorder I have found how the cities heartbeat fits with my own to make me love every minute of the chaos, exciting me for the rest of the time that we have here.