Edit Blog Post
Published: October 26th 2009
Hagia Sofia.. at night!
The Hagia Sofia is an important holy place for Christians and Muslims because when it was Constantinople, it was a church, but when the Turks took over, they transformed it into a Mosque.
We woke up this morning, ate some breakfast, and took the tram to Malastraska, took the metro to Dejaka, and the bus to the airport... the process took us an hour for a 15 minute ride by car. We met Eva, our tour guide for the weekend at the check in desk. She gave us our tickets and a packet of information of what to expect in Istanbul, the city on two continents.
Number one... to avoid the most sexual harassment, cover your knees and elbows. We were told to bring scarfs for our heads for the mosques. Eva warned us that haggling is a way of life in Turkey, that it is almost like a game for them... This was evident by the hilarious pick up lines to get us to come to their stores and restaurants.. more on this later 😊
Our plane left at 2pm... We were all so anxious and curious about what we were about to experience. As our plane landed I could see the mosques and mid east architecture. We landed and got our visas which cost 30USD.. Kind of silly but at least its a nice decoration for my passport 😊 This
is when we discovered that one of the girls from our group left her passport on the plane, the same girl who tried to bring her knitting needles in her carry on bag.. But she recovered it.. When we were waiting for our driver to take us to our hotel, one of my friends was taking money out of the ATM and standing by her about waist high, was a little Turkish boy waiting for the money to come out so he could take it and run off with it to his parents. It was cute, but not so cute at the same time!
Our driver picked us up in a mini bus and drove us through the narrow streets of Istanbul.. I thought for sure we would run into some buildings or cars, but the driver was a pro.. We got to our hotel and exited the bus. First thing I noticed- STRAY CATS.. EVERYWHERE. But they were nice stray cats.. not like in US cities because they are well fed by sympathetic civilians. We were quite acquainted with a kitten which lived next to our hotel by the end of the weekend.
Our hotel was very
The Blue Mosque at night
A small group of tourists.. Robin, Mike and Savannah in front of the Blue Mosque.
cute and located in a very nice area. It was kind of like a bed and breakfast- not commercial at all. Savannah and I were on the 4th floor. Our room was really nice.. two twin beds with a nice night stand, desk, and window in one room, a sitting room with a coffee table, two chairs and a tv, and a bathroom with the necessities (a sink, toilet, shower, and MOTHBALLS).
Eva gave us a tour of the surrounding area. We saw the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sofia lit up at night. She also took us to the main street with cafes and restaurants.. Here, she let us venture off on our own. The ECES kids stuck together and the AIFS kids did their own thing. Mike, Savannah, Robin and I searched for a decently priced place to eat dinner. During our search, we noticed that every restaurant had its own ambassador who tried to sucker Americans and other "naive" tourists into paying overpriced prices for food. "Hey Lady!".."Yes Pease?!"..."Hey, were you looking for me?"..."Hey..I know you, you go to my University!".. ETC We finally found a place without an ambassador with normal prices. I had the
Our sitting room.. a nice room for BBC and tea.
mixed grill kebabs with lamb, chicken and Turkish fried meatballs. On the way back, I spotted some Turkish delight and the others had not tried it before.. So I insisted that they try it! We ended up buying a whole box. It was good.. I didn't realize that they had so many flavors.
Then we walked back to the hotel.. we were a little worried we wouldnt remember the way back and we'd spend the first night in Istanbul homeless.. but we pieced it together. Savannah and I watched TV! I have not watched TV since September 3, the day before I left for Prague! We watched BBC, one of the only channels we could understand. We also enjoyed some Turkish music videos.. then BED.
Tot: 2.651s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 23; qc: 116; dbt: 0.0658s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.5mb