The fact that I fall down a lot is fairly common knowledge. I even managed to bite it pretty badly on the perfectly flat concrete when I lived in Cevizlibag. So when I moved to Beyoglu which is nothing but hills, and pretty steep ones at that, I was worried. I've pretty much lived the last eight months in desperate fear of my street. I've given up wearing heels all together and actually the majority of my entire shoe collection in favor of the few pairs that have heavy, grippy treads. It's really a pity because I do love a cute shoe.
|The "street" I take to/from Turkish class|
|View of the Bosphorous from the evil stair street|
Unfortunately for me, hills and stairs are a part of my every day life. Even the days I don't leave my apartment. The Beyoglu area is one giant hill, I think, with everything leading up to Istiklal and Taksim. The Turkish language school I attend is slightly downhill from Taksim and off a side street. Unfortunately, like many of the streets leading from the Bosphorus side of the giant Beyoglu hill, the incline is so steep that stairs have replace what should be a road. Oh stairs, my personal nemesis. These are, thankfully, not so steep as some of the others but they're still a roughly five - six story climb. And since the "street" is lined with shops and cafes I'm too embarrassed to stop and gasp for breath at each landing as I really want to do. I do, however use the excellent excuse of the amazing view to stop at least once. It is a gorgeous view and one that I cannot enjoy while going down the stairs in the morning when I'm actually facing it. I will never be one of those women who can float gracefully down stairs with head held high. If my hand isn't gripping the railing as tightly as possible and my eyes aren't glued to my feet I will trip, miss a step, or simply collapse causing me to tumble own the stairs breaking various bones and such along the way.
|The view down my street.|
|The up my street from my door.|
Similarly I cannot go down my street, which is not stairs but merely a steep hill, without my eyes fixed firmly on my feet and walking at about half the pace as everyone else. I am terrified that one of these days I'll lose it on the decline and pitch forward on my face in a most undignified manner. Happily, my building is slightly more than half-way down so I don't usually have to negotiate the entire hill. And as much as I dislike trudging up the hill; it is sometimes preferable as history has proven that I am less likely to fall up than down. I say "less likely" because it has actually happened.
|Transition from the building's original stairs to the dodgy add ons that are mine|
Grocery shopping is a pain. It's not that the shops are all that far away, less than a kilometer in fact, but there are several hills (one involving stairs) of various height and steepness involved. And once I drag the groceries home and up my street's steep hill there are still my building's five stories to negotiate. On the lucky side, while the tight spiral of the curved staircase makes me nervous (tight spiral = narrow stairs) it also makes the stories fairly short. The stairs are marble until you get to the top of the fourth story and the last set of steps that lead up to mine. At the top of four, the stairs transition from marble to rickety (the bannister is quite unsteady) blue-painted wooden stairs. The first hint that my apartment is a (likely illegal) addition to the original building.
When I'm hauling up groceries, water, or suitcases I generally stop for a rest somewhere around the third floor. You'd think after eight months of going up and down these things I'd have got used to it by now but, no. If I'm coming home from down the hill or I've been drinking I can usually zoom up all the flights pretty quickly.
|Sherlock is confused about why I hate stairs.|
Once in my apartment there are still more stairs. I've actually got really good at getting up and down these without falling, dropping things (usually), or hitting my head on the ceiling. Sherlock of course loves to hang out on and run up and down them. Apparently the stairs aren't good enough for her anymore though as this morning at roughly 5 AM (so judged by the surround sound morning call to prayer) I heard a new sound and rolled over to find her on top of the closet organizer hanging from the clothes rack. So this is going to be a fun new thing. Especially as she seems very confused about how to get down and each of the (so far) four times she got up there today, cried with increasing volume and pitifullness until I plucked her down.
One has to wonder, as I still sometimes do, why someone like me would take an apartment at the top of a five floor walk-up on a steep hill in a hilly neighborhood. In the end it's a pretty easy answer; because after I've negotiated all the ups and downs to get home and to my terrace...this is what I see.