It was a Lodos weekend in Istanbul, with the strong, dusty winds from Africa howling up the Bosphorus, sending waves crashing over the shore and forcing the locals indoors to save themselves almost certain doom.
Like the better known Sirocco or Mistral winds when the Lodos hits with its 90+ kilometre gusts it causes chaos with flights and ferries cancelled as well as numerous car accidents and untold damage to homes and businesses. Despite the Lodos coming to ruin our fun Daughter and I are hardened Aussies used to some tough weather and really a little breeze wasn’t going to stop us from heading to our first stop, Galata Tower, for the best view over Istanbul.
After climbing one of the seven hills of Istanbul (warn me next time) we then had the pleasure of climbing another two flights of stairs (after catching a lift the first 5 flights) before arriving at the conical cap of Galata Tower. At the top is a café which was packed with tourists milling about waiting for someone to take the plunge and step out into the lodos. Daughter didn’t hestitate and threw open the door letting the howling wind into the café and sending shrieks from the café workers to “kapıyı kapattı!” (shut the door!).
I can see why this building served as a watchtower as you really did have an amazing 360 degree view of Istanbul. No one was going to take Constantinople with this bad boy watching over it (well not until the Ottomans finally did in 1453 anyway).
Daughter and I held onto the fence as we made our way around the tower. It really was a crazy wind – a loco lodos if you will. Soon we were followed by others braving the loco lodos all of us laughing and yelling into the wind, daring it if you will to push us around.
After surviving our first stop it was clear that the lodos was not going to beat us and so, soldiering on we made our way down to the Bosphorus and jumped on what seemed to be the only ferry prepared to leave Kadıköy dock for a three hour cruise. Well let me tell you Gilligan had it easy compared to what we went through over the next couple of hours. The boat was really rocking and I now understand why all the sensible captains stayed safely on shore.
The Turkish poet, Ümit Yaşar Oğuzcan, opens his poem “Istanbul Light” with the verses:
Istanbul, the wind
The wind, my love
Sometimes lodos blows from the seas
Oh so warm
Sometimes poyraz blows like a crazed razor
Let your hair down for the windows of Istanbul
You can’t be without love or the wind in this city.
Well I may have survived a Loco Lodos but I’m not sure if I want to meet the “crazed razor” of a Poyraz wind. Until next time.
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