I was fortunate enough to spend the first weekend in September in the amazing city of Istanbul. I had travelled there to meet my cousin Sara Paretsky. Sara is a well-known mystery writer in America.(www.saraparetsky.com). Her novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and recently into Turkish. She came to Istanbul to meet with her Turkish publishers and also for us to have a chance to spend some time together, something we were unable to do while I was in America.
|With Sara in Hagia Sophia|
We rented an apartment in the Galata district of old Istanbul. The historic Galata Tower was right outside our door, and we had a wonderful time exploring the district and the Sultanahmet area—the location of the famous Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. We also had dinner with Inci Bowman (www.iccrimea.org) in the lovely garden restaurant of the Hotel Yesil Ev, behind the Blue Mosque. It was a special treat while we were there to hear the beautiful voices of the famous (according to the waiter) muzzeins on two different minarets of the mosque, calling back and forth the ezan (call to prayer).
|Sara at her publisher with a copy of Hardball, translated into Turkish|
On the last day of our visit, we traveled across the Bosphorus strait to the Asian side--less like a tourist city and more the heart of where Istanbul citizens live and work. The delightful staff of Artemis, Sara’s Turkish publisher, welcomed us to their office where a stack of Sara’s hot-off-the-press 13th V.I. Warshawski novel, Hardball, translated into Turkish, was awaiting her autograph.
|Ferry building on the Bosphorus where we met for tea|
Later in the afternoon, we also had a chance to meet with Isenbike Togan. I had become acquainted with Isen when she came to Simferopol for an international conference celebrating the work of her father, the famous Turkologist Ahmet-Zaki Validi Togan (see Nov. 9, 2010 blog post). We have since been in touch via email, and she continued to extend her invitation to visit Istanbul. As it turned out, her daughter who lives in America was also visiting and so Isen’s time was limited, but it meant we had the opportunity to meet Sara, a lovely and talented young woman.
|From left: Isen's daughter Sara, Sara Paretsky, Barbara Wieser, Isenbike Togan|
We sat in a café in a historic building overlooking the dock where the ferry boats from the European side of Istanbul arrive and depart. Sharing a cup of tea with companions whose backgrounds span both America and Turkey while looking out on the boat traffic crisscrossing this waterway connecting the continents of Europe and Asia, was a perfect ending to a wonderful three days in Istanbul with my beloved cousin Sara.