Monday, 23 April 2012

Istanbul, Turkey

My visit to Istanbul was more for personal reasons then it was for site seeing. My best friend from college, Akin, is Turkish and returned after graduation. As a surprise, his girlfriend and I planned a surprise visit for his birthday last June. Flying there by myself and trying to navigate my way through the airport to get a visa was a big challenge since I didn't know any Turkish. Waking up the next morning and looking over the city from the couple's apartment, I wouldn't have traded the frustration for anything. I woke to Call to Prayer and a breath taking view from their balcony.

Walking around Istanbul, I was able to explore the shops and markets. We bought fresh food every day from the local market to cook with or went out to a restaurant. The food was fresh and delicious, although I found raki to be a bit strong for my taste. Raki is often considered to be Turkey's national drink and is often referred as "lion's milk." I found that it definitely has a bite!

I was able to visit several famous mosques and churches while I was in Istanbul, the architecture unlike anything that I have ever seen before.
(St. Anthony of Padua)
(inside of St. Anthony of Padua)

(The Blue Mosque)

(The Blue Mosque)

While some of the customs there seemed strange compared to what I am used to in the States, I did my best to adhere to them. In the Blue Mosque, the women were required to cover their heads. We were also required to be covered to our ankles and our arms covered to the biceps.

(Sign at entrance for The Blue Mosque)

(From left to right: Wynter, myself, and Brockell at The Blue Mosque)

I really enjoyed my time in Istanbul. I'm not sure that I would have chosen to travel there if I hadn't had someone that I knew to stay with and show me around, but I am so glad that I did. Istanbul is one of the more interesting places that I have had the pleasure of visiting.

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