April 01, 2011

Just back: A quest for cherries in Istanbul

Mary Whitsell wins this week's travel writing competition for her account of a tantalising mission to find cherries in Istanbul.


Istanbul made us long for cherries. We were stuck in midday traffic, the sun blazing down on our taxi. When children started darting in and out of the traffic with bottles of water, we were tempted. But when the boy with the cherries showed up, we reached for our wallets and tried to get his attention.

He didn’t see us sitting there, stalled in the traffic. The longer we waited, the better those cherries looked, piled high in a wheelbarrow, glossy and red. The boy pushed them in and out of traffic.

He had stuck small green branches in among the cherries, perhaps to keep them cool. He went past a store with hundreds of brightly coloured scarves and carpets. Women clothed from head to foot in black swished past him.

We watched as the boy negotiated the pavement, dodging other hawkers with their piles of oranges, chunks of watermelon, boxes of apples. The taxi inched another five feet through exhaust-scented air. The boy with the cherries was going faster than we were.

Read more on The Telegraph: Just back: A quest for cherries in Istanbul

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