21 April 2015

Lale Festivalı Gülhane Parkı

Spring is here! Sort of anyway. We have had some truly gorgeous days in the last week. Of course this week the temperature dropped 5C, it's overcast, and rainy...but Spring is undeniably here. While the weather might be a bit crap this week, everywhere you look in Istanbul you can see the proof of Spring...tulips.

The tulip is the flower in Turkey. It graces carpets, fabrics, ceramics, jewelry, building facades, fences, and of course gardens, boulevards, highways, parks, and every limited green space this city has during the months of April and May when the official Tulip Festival is on. Turkey is very proud if the tulip and while the Netherlands may lead the world in production (and possibly Kenya in the number two spot) Turkey is responsible for introducing the tulip to Europe.

In the 1500's after the tulip came to Turkey via Central Asia, Sultan Suleyman gifted the King of Holland with some tulip bulbs. After that the tulip trade exploded and bulbs could be worth more than houses. Men spent their life savings to buy just one bulb.

Luckily the price has dropped over the years. However if you don't have a green thumb and have no wish for a tulip of your very own, in Istanbul there are many places to enjoy them. One of the most accessible places is Gülhane Parkı which has its very own tram stop near touristy Sultanahmet. Tulips of nearly every shade and type are planted here in anticipation of the annual festival every April. Gülhane Parkı is also home to a lovely tea garden where you can refresh yourself while enjoying a view of the Bosphorus.


I cannot wait for Spring to decide that it's going to be here and stay here. I want to use my terrace again! Last Saturday was gorgeous here and I laid in the hammock with Sherlock and read for a few hours. Of course by the time the weather is warm enough to spend time on the roof the renovation team, which has been working since the Autumn, will probably finally get around to working on my terrace rendering it unusable for, I'm guessing, two weeks. They're replacing the building's gas pipes this week which means no hot water and no cooking. Luckily I live in a land of delivery and hamams.

It will be worth being banned from the terrace for a week or two though when they're finished. The roof is being sealed which should stop the ceiling from leaking when it rains. Drains are being put in which means the paint in the ceiling of the bathroom should stop rotting and peeling off. AND they're apparently putting down tile on the terrace so I'll have real flooring up there instead of the rough, dirty, what ever the heck is up there now. Then all I have to do is get the apartment managers/owner to agree to replace the warped and falling apart furniture and I will have a palace with view. Until next year when I'll likely have to look for a new place because I won't be able to afford this one.

Gülhane Parkı has more than just tulips! We'll have a look at those when we do the B-Roll.

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