Back in Istanbul, the temperature has brought out my mittens and scarves, yak wool blankets and endless cups of tea. The mud, freezing rain and greyness of the city has a certain poetry to it; and when you take a moment amid the city's chaos to consider where you are, you realise how lucky you are. There truly is no place like Istanbul, and though my nomadic heart tells me that I'll have to move on at some point, I'm happy to be here right now.
However, it's sometimes necessary to get out for a bit and see something different than the endless maze of construction and rivers of people in dark coats. We wanted to see gulls by the Marmara, and when looking at the satellite imagery of the city on Google Maps, a town near the airport called Menekşe looked intriguing. We headed to Sirkeci Garı, once the last stop of the famed Orient Express, and learned from an evasive information center guide that there was only one inner city rail line, and it passed right through Menekşe— the very train we were looking at.
It felt like we had left Istanbul for somewhere else, somewhere far away— the sea, the quiet and slow pace of Menekşe was so relaxing. We ate fish sandwiches for dinner, and saw our first Caspian gull.