Spring was in the air when Caladan’s close friends Martina and Heinz Ackermann invited us to an exhibition of Heinz’s sculptures at Istanbul’s cultural centre Tophane I Amire.

This sprawling city spanning two continents and many more ethnicities has certainly seen its fair share of religious and political rebirth over its long history as a strategic gateway to the world.

But while some of Turkey’s freedoms continue to ebb and flow like the waters of the Bosphorus, the locals we met on our trip underlined the enduring human capacity for friendship and love, wherever you’re from and whatever you believe in.

Like Istanbul, Heinz’s sculptures echo the ancient past but they also have a mysterious, almost other-worldly feel to them which is altogether different from the busy metropolis.

Outside the gallery, with one of our Cinema For Peace bags over the shoulder, we travelled centuries in just a few hours, taking in the stunning Hagia Sophia Mosque, the nearby Blue Mosque and stood between east and west on Mehmet the Conqueror bridge.
Later in the day, with the almost hypnotic call for prayer echoing around the city, we felt completely at peace and at one with the world!