First Time

Istanbul Sapphire

Some talk with excitement of driving round and round all the way up a mountain, others wax poetic about cliffside walks, gazing down to a foaming sea and waves crashing on rocks. Still others sky dive, zip line, bungee jump...

Not for me. Yet if I have a railing to hold on to, and can climb a height on my own two feet, I will at least make the attempt.

In this fashion - holding onto iron bars studded in the walls - I've made it up the tower of many an English castle and along the edges of caverns and waterfalls in Canada and the United States.
In Turkey, the closest I've come to heights is driving along the coast roads of the Aegean Sea, and once I had the chance to do the same in Corsica, along the Balearic Sea. Both times, I held onto my seat with a grip of steel, as if at any moment I might go hurtling over the cliffs and into the waters far below.

Which, I suppose, is the real fear behind a fear of heights. My most recent experience was ascending the height of the new Istanbul Sapphire skyscraper. At 236 metres, it is one of the tallest buildings in Europe - not normally a place I would visit. Being with a group of excited friends doesn't help either. What if they get too excited and start trying daredevil acts?

I made it up the elevator with everyone and then, once we came out on the observation deck, let them all move ahead of me.

There I was, inching along the walls, trying to hide from the fierce wind that was ready to pick me up and throw me over the ledge.

But the view! No one could resist this: all of Istanbul laid out below you, as if you were looking down at a living map, or an animated model.

The trouble is, on any trip, I'm the designated photographer. I've got the patience, and remember to always take at least one or two snapshots in each place. So, with one foot wedged against the wall, one arm braced around the railing, head tilted against the wind, I looked out over Istan-bul and took as many photographs as I could.

And lived to tell about it.

June-July 2012

Old Articles by Deniz B. Bevan:
Pâté or Pouding Chômeur
An Expression
Ice Apple Wine
Montreal Is An Island
Lavender Fields
Exotic Fruit
Ideas for Your 'Staycation'
Istanbul: I Only Have Two Days To See Everything!
Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Bladeby Diana Gabaldon
Approaching Ireland by ferry...
Just Plain Nesin