Sometimes when I share my stories, I can hardly believe they have happened.
I can tell by the look on some people’s faces that they struggle to comprehend them too.
I often reflect and think “Did that really happen to me?”
I have met amazing everyday genuine people in the most random ways. I’ve trusted my gut and I’ve ended up having my most memorable, authentic experiences in a destination.
When I travel I’m grateful to continually see, witness & experience The ‘Kindness of Strangers.’
For some the thought of travelling ‘ alone’ is scary and not even an option. For me travelling ‘On my own – not alone’ is a great way to experience a destination, the culture and the people.
Meeting these people and having these experiences, ALWAYS makes me feel grateful and ALWAYS teaches me something.
I would like to share a few of these stories with you:
Mr Rainbow – Istanbul
I’m a sucker for bright colours. When I heard about the rainbow steps in Istanbul, I knew I wanted to wander the streets of the city to find them. In my long tested fashion…I stumbled upon them…when I got a bit lost.
The first set I came across were quite dull. They were faded and worn looking…lived in and used. I crossed over the busy road towards them. There was just me and two stray cats.
I continued to walk and then came across this next set. Now these were bright! I loved them.There was quite a few people dotted around the steps so it took a while to get this photo above. I ran up the steps and started to take some selfies…as you do.
Then someone asked “Do you like them?” I turned to see this man smiling up from a few steps down. “I love them” I said. “They are just lovely and bright – they make me smile”
He laughed and said “Oh I’m so glad – that’s why I did it”
At the bottom of the steps was a little cafe. He had walked up a bit to chat to me as I must have looked like a crazy person smiling into my phone snapping away.
“Would you like to join me for some tea?” He said and pointed to a little table outside the cafe. I was intrigued so I accepted.
His name is Huseyin Cetinel. I called him Mr Rainbow.
Turns out he painted the steps himself, spending his own money ‘Just because.’
Huseyins efforts were not well received by everyone at first. One morning the city awoke to grey steps after the government decided to paint over the colour during the night. The next night Huseyin went back and painted them different rainbow colours again. News spread and his campaign to ‘make people smile’ gathered a following and eventually the government gave in and they are now permanent.
Huseyin is retired and spends his time either re painting the steps or sitting at the bottom of the steps watching people’s faces. “They make people smile and that makes me smile” he said.
These steps are loved by locals and visitors alike. People even come here on their wedding day to get special snaps. These may just be painted steps but they make people smile and bring joy to all who sit on, look at, jump on.
He chatted away, so animated, showing me pages on google and twitter to evidence it was his masterpiece “People do this all over the world now” he said. He’s right. I’ve seen painted, rainbow steps all over the world. Did he start it? I’m not sure but he is very proud of his rainbow patch in Istanbul.
We sat for over an hour and what a lovely gentleman. He painted the steps ‘just because’ and when I tried to pay for my tea he wouldn’t let me and thanked me for my company.
The kindness of strangers or are strangers friends we have yet to meet?
It’s a few tins of paint, something so simple but I loved them. I want them in Manchester – who’s in? Would a splash of colour on a dull part of your city brighten your day? Please leave a comment below to let me know. Do you know anyone in your city who has done something like this ‘just because?’
Sometimes the simple things in life can make you the happiest…