So far, we've had an exceptionally mild winter in Germany. Now, it looks like we're in for colder weather, from the weekend onward. I wouldn't mind a pattern like last year, when a mild winter was briefly interrupted by three weeks of severe cold and a wonderland of blue sky, ice, and snow.
The first days of the new year stealthily advancing, it'll be February in no time, with Fasching (carnival) arriving early this year. March does not count as winter, to me; it's the month that makes you smell the joyful imminence of spring. The stretch from March to July is the best part of the year, except for the spectacular bloom of autumn. Beautiful as they are, August and September usually hold a slight surplus of melancholy for me. Depriving the world of warmth and light, November and December find me depressed. Winter solstice is an important date that I eagerly await: the days get longer, more light.
Rather on the warm and sunny side, and only two flying hours away, Istanbul, the capitol of Turkey, is at the top of my touristic agenda. However, one does not associate the place with 'kar':
Snow, or "Kar" in Turkish: The eponymous novel by Orhan Pamuk tells a complex, darkly humorous and politically fraught tale about modern Turkey. But yesterday it simply covered Pamuk's hometown of Istanbul -- and some intrepid fisherman on the city's Galata Bridge -- in a blanket of white. A heavy snowstorm on Jan. 8 virtually shut down the commercial hub, disrupting air traffic and ground transportation in the city of 15 million people.