10 September 2010
Turkish men in towels...'Travel day. Istanbul - Zurich.
Finally leaving Istanbul and I find myself rather sad to go. I'll definitely be back here though, as I feel I've only just scratched the surface. It's been a fun few days, equal parts leisure and tourism. Possibly my favourite thing was doing the 'hammam' Turkish bath in one of the ancient establishments in town. I'd been warned that in essence the experience is that of being locked naked in a damp basement and beaten up by Turkish men in towels, but I loved it. (In the end the greatest challenge proved not to be the threat of violence but the extremes in temperature. I survived, however.)
I did manage to fit in one last exhibit before leaving this morning, which was a documentary display of the work of the German choreographer Pina Bausch, who died last year. Finally to the airport and on to Switzerland.
The journey to Zurich was reassuringly uneventful and on arrival I went out to get a bite to eat. I found a great Lebanese place quite locally, which at least extended for one more night the Ottoman theme of my recent diet.
Back in my hotel room I was planning an early night but somehow got lost in YouTube until the wee hours. For some reason I'd been thinking about a David Bowie documentary called 'Cracked Actor' that was on the BBC in about 1975. Watching it then as a schoolboy fan had made a big impact on me. Most of all I remembered how astonished we had been by the U.S. fans interviewed in the programme. Growing up in Yorkshire in the 70's we had missed Woodstock entirely and had had very little exposure to drugged out American youth. These strung-out valley dudes talking in space-cadet, non-sequiturs were so utterly alien to us that Bowie himself seemed like a cuddly, accessible local lad by comparison. The documentary is magnificent though, a classic time-piece, capturing Bowie at the peak of his arc. Very inspiring.