Suitcase and World: Today is Sunday.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today is Sunday.

n searching for a hotel to stay in in Istanbul, I decided to settle on a small hotel in Sultanahmet so I would be near all the major tourist sights. I emailed Hotel Kybele which was where Lei and I stayed back in May. They had rooms but wanted 80 euros for a single - a little pricey for me considering this is off-season. Then, by chance, I stumbled onto the website for Hotel Poem.

The Hotel Poem is housed in what is a restored Ottoman mansion. There are only 16 rooms and most have views of the Sea of Marmara. Lucky me, I scored one of those rooms and it's only costing me 30 euros to boot! Admittedly, the room is teeny, weeny (though v-e-r-y comfortable) and the bathroom even teeny, weenier - you would think you were in a hotel room in some pricey European city. But it's in a quiet, safe neighboorhood - has to be with the Four Seasons Hotel just a block away - and I have all the amenities I need including free WiFi (yay!) and flat panel TV with cable.

But what really hooked me into reserving a room at this quaint and charming hotel was that every room is named after a famous Turkish poem. There are no room numbers - just the name of the poem framed on a small plaque marks the door to your room and the tag to the key is etched to match. Okay, I'm a sucker for good marketing gimmicks and this one sets this boutique hotel from all the others.

My room is called "Today is Sunday". It was penned by Turkish poet named Nazim Hikmet who is so beloved by this country that he is considered by many to be the father of modern Turkish poetry. There are various translations of "Today is Sunday" on the web but this is my favorite:

Today, for the first time, they took me out in the sun.
I just stood there, for the first time in my life, struck by
        how far away the sky is,
        how blue
        and how wide.
Then I reverently sat down on the earth,
Leaning my back against the wall.
At this moment, no trap to fall into,
At this moment no struggle, no freedom, no wife.
Only the earth, the sun and me.
I am happy...

THE perfect poem for me on this day.