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Published: November 12th 2011
Julie on the Bosphorus
Every morning we took the ferry from where I live on the Asian side of Istanbul over to Asia. I still think that is so cool and will never get tired of saying - Let's go to Europe for the afternoon.
My friend Julie was my first visitor here in Istanbul. It was so wonderful to see her and to have somebody from home come visit. I had three days of vacation November 7-9 for Bayram and am so lucky that she was up for traveling so far for such a short trip.
Even though Julie was only here for five days we saw a lot of the city. I had already seen quite a few of the tourist sights, but not all and it was so much fun for me to both play tour guide at places I knew and explore others for the first time with her.
In some ways her visit reminded me of when people would come see me in Morocco. It really made me appreciate where I am and all the amazing places and history here in Istanbul. It’s easy to get caught up in the mundane routine of work. I get up, take the bus to work, work from 8-4, take the bus home, go to the gym, go home to make dinner, check my email or do some work I brought home, then go to bed. That sort of schedule is repetitive no
We always had a good view of the major sights from the water. On a ferry from Asia you can see Sultanahmet on the left, Aya Sofya in the middle and Topkapi Palace on the right.
matter where you live.
A visit from a good friend has got to be the best way to kick myself out of that cycle. I wanted her to see the best side of the city, to enjoy her visit and to be awed at the history here. Fortunately, Julie is a history teacher and the perfect person to appreciate the history that Istanbul has to offer. She pointed out at the end of her stay that we didn’t see the sights in chronological order. In fact, we almost did them backwards. Here’s a short list of the places we went – and where they would fit on a time line.
Saturday: Dolmabahçe Palace (built in 1856) and the neighborhood of Beşiktaş
Sunday: Topkapı Palace (built between 1459 and 1465) and the neighborhood of Sultanahmet
Monday: Aya Sofya (first built in the 4th century though the current structure was inaugurated in 537 by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian) and the Blue Mosque, also called Sultanahmet (built between 1609 and 1616)
Tuesday: The area around the Grand Bazaar (established in 1453) and the Spice Bazaar (built in 1660). The neighborhood of Beyoğlu, the underground Tünel (built in 1875),
We couldn't take pictures inside the palace but we had so much time waiting to get in that I had to take a panorama of the line.
Istiklal Street and Taksim Square (a stone reservoir from the 1700s now with a monument to Atatürk built in 1928).
So we skipped through the centuries completely out of order. I was going for a geographical approach. No matter how good I get at knowing which busses and ferries and trams to take, it still takes a long time to get around the city. Now that Julie suggested it, I really want to do a tour of Istanbul starting with the Aya Sofya and moving through the centuries to Taksim as the symbol of the modern Turkish Republic. That would be really cool. It would probably take about two weeks to do it properly.
I’ll blog each of the places we visited individually, after I do some more research on each one. For now I just want to post a few pics to show how much fun it was to wander around Istanbul with Julie. It was a beautiful vacation and I am so happy that she brought the sun with her from Yuma. She also brought enough presents and American food that it felt like my birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all rolled into one. Thank you Julie!
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Heather, You seem to be quite knowledgable about your area and it sounds like you are really invested in the history and culture and times of your new place. Very cool. And very insightful comments about "the daily grind" being nearly the same in life (get up, go to work, gym, sleep, repeat) no matter what part of the planet you are on. Too true. Well, it sounds like you showed your friend Julie a wonderful time. Glad you guys got to get together. Love ya!