Friday, April 6, 2012

Istanbul's tulips are in bloom

When I was a kid, my dad liked to tell me, and often, that the only question he missed on some college history exam was: Where did the tulip originate? Like most folks, he answered Holland. But the right answer was, drumroll please...Turkey. You're surprised, I know. Now, the tulip is from a much wider area of course, but I think what the question was getting at is that the people living in Turkey were the first to cultivate the flower. (I say "people" because the Internet is telling me that this happened as early as the year 1000, and the Seljuk Turks wouldn't arrive until 1071.) 

I had heard that Istanbul would be awash in tulips in the spring and now, finally, spring is here. Hallelujah! It seemed like the tulips started blooming at the beginning of this week -- on Monday, from the bus, I saw a couple of orange ones had popped up, decorating the highway around Merter -- and by Wednesday night, they seemed to be definitely out. But both times, I was in a vehicle and couldn't stop or take photos, so today, when I was out strolling with a friend from Taksim to Nisantasi, I was pretty thrilled to see them along our route. And they were only the white boring ones, too, so you can see the level of my excitement.

FLOWERS! I find them so captivating, which I recognize is weird, but I can't help it. (My mother once told me I have the interests of a 60-year-old man.) But at least it's harmless, right?

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