July 06, 2014

The Fortress on the Hill

At the most narrow point of the Bosphorus there are two fortresses—one on the Asian side and the other on the European side. They were built centuries ago by Ottoman Sultans who wanted to control access from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

We went to explore the fortress on the European side—Rumeli Hisari. We stopped beforehand and ate lunch at one of the many quaint restaurants on the water. One thing we are continually amazed at is the plethora of good food. We literally stop at any random restaurant and enjoy what we eat. (And it is not because we think everything is good either).

We enjoyed the quick walk from the restaurant to Rumeli Hisari along the shore. We watched people jumping in an out of the clear blue water and others taking a stroll in the sunlight. Rumeli Hisari has thick stone walls and three enormous towers built at different levels up the steep hill. Inside there is a Roman Styled  amphitheater and stairs leading to all of the turrets and walkways to defend the fort.

The higher you climb on the wall, the more dizzying it was. There are no hand rails to safety guards of any sort. You are free to roam as you please. I am not afraid of heights but looking straight down a wall to a landing that would surely kill you upon impact was a bit disheartening. At one point I was coming up some stairs to a landing and a couple were taking photos of the spectacular views. The man was standing with his back to me so I crept closer and yelled “AHHHH!” He jumped so high! His wife and I burst in into laughter and he finally did too (I know, cruel joke but I couldn’t resist).

As we walked up and down the rough stone stairs I thought how this place was not made for short people! Each stair was at least 2 feet tall! I had Tau’aho strapped to my back in the Ergo and he was enjoying the ride. It is funny that if we are not moving or not moving fast enough he will kick my sides with his heels like I am a horse!  

Actually, with Lucky being almost a year old he is starting to mimic. When we are making faces or blinking he will watch us and then mirror our actions. You saw from the last blog how Lady Hiva has taught him to make a cheesy grin and widen his eyes in jest. Or he knows when to turn the page of the book as we read to him. If we turn it ourselves, he will turn it back and then when ready he will turn it too. When we tell him no and wag our finger and him, he will put up his finger and in a string of words he will wag his finger back—then as soon as we turn our backs he will go right back to doing what he was doing! (We are SO in trouble with this one. I guess it is a matter of simple math--one opinionated parent + one stubborn parent= One stubbornly opinionated  Lucky Dragon.)

When I was breathing hard after climbing a long stretch of stairs I stopped and could hear Tau’aho behind me mimicking my huffing and puffing in sync with my breathing as if he had just walked the stairs too. What a kid.

From the top of the fortress you can look over the entire area. We enjoyed the beautiful breeze and watched boats make their way up and down the Bosphorus. I am not sure if it was the Fourth of July weekend or the fact that one of the other couples (who were Korean) were wearing t-shirts with an American flag that said “God Bless America” but as I sat on top of the world I found myself singing the Star Spangled Banner to Lucky. Yeah, I really was. Thankfully Lady Hiva has become immune to my singing in public and doesn’t get embarrassed anymore!

One of the most fun aspects of exploring new places or experiencing new adventures is I find myself setting scenes that could be used for writing books. In my head I visual the type of people that worked on the fortress before it was made into a museum. I then make a mental note so I can write in a way that people who never seen the area will experience it by reading the words. It make history come alive for me. Rumeli Hisari was full of stories waiting to be told. I am glad that Lady Hiva and Lucky were willing to hike all over the area and even listen to my patriotic tribute to a country thousands of miles away!


1 comment:

  1. It is so beautiful, I just can't get over it!
    And that boy of yours is adorable. Such a fun age.