• Mind / Body,  Places

    mercury in retrograde

    This week the Marmaray Project opened. While I was away, I missed a chance to do a BBC radio interview and publish a photograph in the Globe and Mail. Must admit there’s a side of me which is inclined to curse. Another part of me, instead, looks back at the good people, good food and lengthy dose of extended summer I found in the Aegean region. Mercury is in retrograde.

  • Places

    autumn colour

    Sorry I haven’t posted for a bit. It’s that time of year again, when one needs to get busy with paying projects to keep the fire alight through the long wet winter. Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources — not a lack of love or appreciation — I haven’t had the chance to post my favourite creative venture for a while. Here’s a glimpse of the forests in between Istanbul and Ankara on a short excursion we took to escape the city. The feel of autumn really strikes you here once you escape the confines of the city for valleys. The smell of coal smoke, once familiar in Istanbul is again thick in the air. Every time the wind picks up, the woods swirl with leaves. For someone who grew up in Eastern Canada the absence of some flashing red to stop you in your tracks before winter is…

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    five years fresh … den

    Years ago (almost five to be exact) I had a favourite morning hangout. I used to huddle over my laptop on cold winter mornings by the misted window, deeply embroiled in a novel I was working on at the time. After a while I finished the novel and moved to Yeniköy in anticipation of the beautiful daughter that came into our lives. At first Yenikoy was missing something, though I couldn’t quite say what. I established my mobile writer’s outpost at Caffé Nero which had all the mod-cons I needed. Personality, I guess you’d call it, was lacking. The staff were nice, but they came and went regularly. It wasn’t the same experience as saying hello to the owners at Den. In the last year, perhaps a little more, I started meeting my friend — and all around man of good taste — Maxime, for lunches at my haunt of old, Den.…

  • Places

    gold green

    Yesterday I was daydreaming of Denmark. Today I’m noticing the last glorious stretch of summer days here in Istanbul. The sunlight filtered through slowly yellowing leaves washes everything in minty gold hue. Autumn creeps closer. But not too close.

  • Places,  Uncategorized

    lost in a big northern sky

    There are few things more compelling to me than the sea. But when I think back on Denmark, which I was in about a month ago, I keep thinking of that massive sky. Not that the sea there isn’t impressive. It’s just that the ceiling above it is so mind-boggling big and blue. I miss that vastness. What will you remember, Sof?

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    pony time

    Hidden in between the confusion and chaos of Maslak traffic and the monstrosity known as Istiniye Park is a small strip of heaven and quiet designated for horse and pony lovers. I am always surprised and pleased with how striking and magnificent horses can be when viewed up close. It’s also difficult not to appreciate how special the bond between horse and rider is. It always seems like such a gift that these awesome and powerful creatures are so willing to calmly carry the burden of another creature around on their backs. For one three-year old, I know it was a particularly giddy new surprise. There are small ponies for the little people and proper horses for bigger and more experienced riders. Memberships and rider training is available for children and adults. I have a feeling we’ll be back soon.

  • Food & Drink,  Places

    the farm store: 83

    Farmer’s markets are something special, something not to be missed if you love food. But somewhere between Hirshtals and Hjørring in a place called Tornby in Jutland, there’s a long gravel lane crowded by soaring pines which leads to a store which looks fit to supply Valhalla. Fresh doesn’t do this farmer’s market justice — food is plucked from the ground or the vine about 100 metres from where it’s sold. It’s also displayed in an eye-catching, uncluttered way, on broad tables in colourful clusters, dirt still spilling off the root vegetables, while in among the produce are imported and local delicacies, such as French lemonades, gourmet English potato chips and local craft-brewed bottles of beer. Meanwhile, lightly humming coolers are stocked with everyday staples such as milk, butter and cheese. Here they grow potatoes worthy of a potato sandwich — and a sandwich is serious business to a Dane.…

  • Mind / Body,  Places

    a different landscape

    Sorry to have been so long absent. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, look north to vast skies and a windswept place of houses sunken into sand dunes and long, lingering evenings where the light is loathe to dwindle.  Sometimes in order to un-clutter your mind  you have change your mental address, at least temporarily. Sometimes you even have to abandon social media — believe it — for a while.  Still, it’s been too long since I last saw you. I sure hope you feel the same.

  • Places

    a strange climate

    When I started this blog it was with the intention of pointing out things to appreciate, especially with regard to this city which has been my home for eight years. This city has brought me so many good things, and as a result I’ve wanted to pay it back. However, I’ve had something of a philosophical conundrum in the last week. It’s been difficult to go back to that same reality. In the space an hour these days I can find hope in some simple act of kindness from the people of this city, and lose it in the next second. I’m not usually into finger-pointing, but it’s usually in the moments when one of the city’s or country’s democratically elected leaders speaks. In the last hour there’s a man on the TV saying some very frightening things, about minorities, foreign interests, about the abuse of his head scarf-wearing sisters,…