Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The shore road traffic crawled along at a snail’s pace once we got to Rumelihisarı.

We made a conscious decision, hopped off the 25E bus and walked the remaining 2.5 kilometers to Emirgan Korusu. We left the bus in the dust. We knew the traffic would be bad, but we didn’t think it would be çok berbat.

On Sunday, the rain stayed away so we headed outdoors to enjoy the 6th Istanbul Tulip Festival, which is ongoing around the city through April 30.
Over the past two months, I have been encouraged by locals and longtime expats to see the lale (tulips) as soon as they start blooming. Although several of the city’s parks are heavily planted with lale, Emirgan Korusu wins with the most - topping out at 1.72 million tulips with 112 different species. It really is an amazing sight to see!

Not only are there tulips in every pastel shade imaginable, but this one reminded me of a summer sunset.

The park is situated on a steep hill and overlooks the Bosphorus and the second bridge off in the distance. One of the hillsides was planted in what looked like a meandering stream of red and yellow tulips and dainty grape hyacinth bulbs.
If you plan ahead, bring a picnic lunch with you because the park’s cafe looked expensive. (2013 update: I've since tried the food and it's not that good.) There are plenty of picnic tables here. Or treat yourself to a Turkish gözleme or a bag of nuts before you enter the park. We ended up walking back to Bebek and just grabbed a meal at a lokanta along the road.

Although the weather was a bit chilly, I’m happy we experienced the Turkish lale in its full splendor. I'd highly recommend making the time to see the lale in Istanbul this month!

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