After days with dark clouds and a weekend covid-curfew we finally saw the sun. No questions was asked. We filled our backpack with cheese, bread, tomatoes, olives, cake, chocolate and vine, left the house and headed out in the nature of Büyükada, the largest of the Princess Island near Istanbul. The landscape of the island has with its serene and spiritual atmosphere for centuries been a source of inspiration to many artists, writer and thinkers as well as to its local community – associated with phaeton sightseeing, sea bathing ceremonies, moonlight pleasure trips, picnics, musical performances, and sailing competitions.
A huge part of the Island is covered by old pine three forest crossed with either small paved roads or narrow paths that gives one a feeling of solitude and adventure when leaving the islands busy tourist areas and many mansions behind. Soon you are engulfed between pine threes, ruins, old farm houses and groves.
Some of the first creatures we meet on our way was a herd of cows grassing under the threes. They seemed as curious as us and did not mind strangers without masks coming near them, so they did not hesitate to eat grass from our hand. Further up the hill there was a small rustic farmhouse with chickens, geese and goats, probably the cows home mates. We continued on the narrow dusty path and came to a cluster of ruined walls and houses in a clearing. On an old granite staircase which ended in an empty well we decided to have our lunch in the sun. The smell of food soon lured a white-orange cat to join our company. It was however not interested in our food but in the way we cut the bread and the rattling of the paper bread bag. After the cat had smelled to everything we had to offer, and rejected it all, it lay down in the autumn sun near our feet on the stairs. Once in a while it raised its body contentedly mesmerized us with its well-satisfied purrs. Drowsy of the food, vine and sun we settled down in the land of pure coziness – tumbling around in grass as soft as feathers, exchanging sweet kisses and kind caressed hands.
Photos: Sila Yalazan
Text: Steen Andersen