Semana Santa Away From Spain: Istanbul & Greece

Anna Suszynski
April 10, 2015

Istanbul: The Sunken Palace

Fish underground. They were like ghosts, like small glaciers moving across the bottom. A gray shadow. A phantom. The imagination projected below the feet of the people walking above, as if it were seeping into the street, dripping, and then falling as fish into the Basilica Cistern below. Yerebatan Sarayı, the Sunken Palace.

It felt as though I was walking through a dark forest of pine trees, the columns rose into the darkness, as the fish swam below my feet. Built in the 6th century. A forest, a breathing forest lives below the city. There were two Medusa heads. But one was sideways and one was upside down. Mathematically, the odd position of the Medusa heads is due to the correction of the differing heights of the columns. But I don’t think in numbers, I think Medusa built the Sunken Palace for herself. She stared into the eyes of the slaves that worked in the earth and turned them to stone, used their bodies to hold up the city streets. Maybe somebody trapped her down there to teach her a lesson and positioned her head unnaturally so she would stop it with the stone thing. I averted my eyes just in case as I continued down the walkway.

A column mixed in with the others had strange geometrical tears that dripped upward. At least the plaque told me they were tears. But they looked more like snakeheads.


Greece: Aegina

Something special happens when you travel, an ephemeral moment– as if everything were vibrating, the colors, the buildings, the water. The skin of the leaves and the sky, crumbled, abandoned building like husks set out to dry– or maybe the colors were singing. And they sang just for you– a chorus of intangible beauty that tickles the sides of your mouth ever so slightly, enough to elicit the slow spread of a smile.

As we biked down the coast of Aegina, I distanced myself for a moment to be alone; I felt it then. Even though my five euro bike rattled dangerously with the speed I carried, I became acutely aware of the movement around me, the waves growing outward as if invisible hands were knitting the ocean together, a rug of aquamarine blue. And then suddenly the knitter remembered the mountains and they burst from the ocean in fringed finery, grasping for life as a fish would. A small wave rolled to my feet as I stared out to the water, bike on the hill above. It left bits of yarn on my shoes.

We walked down the street to lunch, octopus lay splayed out in the sun– their delicate tentacles reminded me of porcelain. I wondered what it would feel like wrapped around my arm, softly draped with suction cups like little ears. I could be the ocean queen with a dress of porcelain octopus. I could dive into the sea and become the island’s lurking giant squid with a Basilica of seaweed and tortoise shell. But I kind of miss Granada.


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Anna Suszynski

<p>My name is Anna Suszynski and I live in Colorado. I will graduate in 2016 from Colorado College having studied to be an English major, Creative Writing Track. I love to read, ski, go to as many concerts as I can, hang out with my mom, hike, take way too many photographs, and get lost.&nbsp;</p>

2015 Spring
Home University:
Colorado College
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