Monday, 9 March 2015

#Microblog Mondays: A philistine's lament

Written as part of Mel's Microblog Mondays. Check it out here to participate.

This city is steeped in history.  Life size memories of empire,  Ottoman siege, two world wars, 18th century courtly life, 19th century artistic revolution, monarchy and fascist and communist and democratic rule writ large on the landscape; all right on our doorstep.

It makes for a rich cultural and intellectual life. Our days may be spent on hours of leisurely meandering, surprising discoveries and little gems at every twisted turn. Things here are done properly, at a slow pace, with attention to all the right detail. The unparalleled café culture is recognized by no less than UNESCO.

(The concept of the ‘take-away’ coffee is starting to emerge here, even if people really think a good brew is to be slowly sipped in civilized surroundings, preferably accompanied by a slice of some delicate confection and some reading. My dear husband, proof if ever there was that however long you take the boy out of the city, you’ll never take the city out of the boy, used to look aghast when I’d get a coffee to go. Now he merely shakes his head.)  

The thing is, architecture here pretty much comes in two sizes: massive, monumental and gold-trimmed, or quaint, crooked and cobbled.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

It’s all so beautiful and interesting and full of old-world charm. But it’s also just that: old. And what it’s not is easily navigable with a kinderwagen, boisterous 10-month-old with all her paraphernalia in tow.

I’d be lying if I said I never longed for the featureless, ahistorical (accessible!) smooth asphalt landscapes of my Canadian childhood.


noun Phi·lis·tine \ˈfi-lə-ˌstēn; fə-ˈlis-tən, -ˌtēn; ˈfi-lə-stən\
a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values

Guilty as charged.


  1. I'm glad you find much to appreciate in your new city; it sounds amazing. I identify with the philistine emotions too however lol. I felt similarly about London after a few weeks. I felt most at home among the skyscrapers of Greenwich.

  2. Sadie, all of this is beautiful! Takes my breath away. But I get where you're coming from. I'm a bit homesick for the flat plains that were my childhood home. The simplicity that comes with it all.

    May the transition continue to be a smooth one and I can't wait for more photos.

    And I fully support take-away coffee. One needs a warm drink for the sight-seeing.

  3. I always love your photos. I wish I could switch locations with you for a while!

  4. I agree with Gypsy Mama -- you make me want to go there.


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