Istanbul

2

November 18, 2013 by travelingsole

One of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s the New York of the other side of the world. Oh yeah and it’s the older version of New York by several thousand years.

Entering the city. The thousand year old walls.

Entering the city. The thousand year old walls.

Tramatized buses. I'd like to think they were damaged in the protests.

Tramatized buses. Damaged in the protests?

First view of the skyline

First view of the skyline

Zonked

Zonked

Chaddy

Chaddy

Outside the Hagia Sophia

Outside the Hagia Sophia

The entrance of the Hagia Sophia

The entrance of the Hagia Sophia

Incredible domes and stained glass

Incredible domes and stained glass

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View of the Bosphorous from the Hagia Sophia. From Europe looking across at Asia.

View of the Bosphorous from the Hagia Sophia. From Europe looking across at Asia.

The Blue Mosque - across the lawn from the Hagia Sophia

The Blue Mosque – across the lawn from the Hagia Sophia

That is the Hagia Sophia. Ugly on the outside i know.

That is the Hagia Sophia. Ugly on the outside I know.

Lots of burqas.

Lots of burqas.

The Grand Bazaar. Thousands of shops. Amazing shopping but not as good as the Kemeralti in Izmir

The Grand Bazaar. Thousands of shops. Amazing shopping but not as good as the Kemeralti in Izmir

On our way to the bus station one day we ran into a protest. We needed to get to the other side but we had to turn around and go around. This was a Crazy protest. They had a loud speaker. It was loud and getting crazier as the minutes went on. All in Turkish but later we found out they were Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood protesters with some ignorant Europeans mixed in.

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A little boy at the crazy protest

A little boy at the crazy protest

Mennonites at an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood protest

Mennonites at an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood protest

Istanbul was amazing. I was exhausted though. After living out of suitcases for 4 weeks and backpacks for 2 we were ready to go home. I normally don’t get homesick. I love the adventure, the excitement of discovering new places. This time I was ready to go home. I was exhausted and tired of being around people 24/7. We were packed in like sardines for 6 weeks and it was just time to spend some time alone.

Friday morning in Istanbul I found out that April Yoder died in a car accident. It hit me harder than I’d expected. I was friends with her family especially two of her sisters. I found out at breakfast time and we were supposed to go to a team meeting in half an hour. I couldn’t stop crying. The tears just flowed and flowed. I went to the meeting and had to leave because I just couldn’t stop crying. I opted to stay at the apartment for the morning instead of going exploring. I just needed time alone to process.

The next morning two friends and I got up early and went to Starbucks. We sat in different places so we could have some time to journal then met back together for a good old “hash-session”. Who knew you could solve all your problems in a short hour of journalling and another hour of talking with good friends.

Starbucks companions

Starbucks companions

The last 2 days were good. There was still sadness for April’s family. There was still the longing to go home. But I wanted to enjoy the remaining moments together as a team. I wanted to make as many memories as possible. I still wanted to explore as much of Istanbul as possible.

We spent a lot of time on İstiklal Steet – usually 2 meals a day, shopping, STARBUCKS, and walking. It is a street that runs off of Taksim Square (where the riots/protests started happening in June). This street had an old trolley car that ran down the center of the street. Besides the trolley it is just a walking street. At the end of the street was another trolley car that takes you through a tunnel and meets up with the metro.

Istiklal street - It's the Times Square of Istanbul

Istiklal street – It’s the Times Square of Istanbul- this is the view from one of 3 Starbucks.

One of the last evenings in Istanbul we took the Ferry across the Bosphorus for one last “Turkish Asian” meal

On the Bosphorus Going to Asia for supper

On the Bosphorus going to Asia for supper

Beautiful Sunset - the European side

Beautiful Sunset – the European side

The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

The Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.

View from the ferry from Europe to Asia

View from the ferry from Europe to Asia

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Full moon

Full moon

And then we had to say goodbye. It was hard to say goodbye. We made so many good memories together. Hopefully I’ll get to see a lot of them again at a wedding of one of our team members.

This is my Baby Girl. My niece. Zafira.

This is my Baby Girl. My niece. Zafira.

Saying goodbye

Saying goodbye

Hugs for Zemmi too

Hugs for Zemmi too

My bodyguard and friend. Congratulations! Can't wait to see you get to marry your best friend. He kept saying "I love it here but I miss my gun and my girlfriend."

My bodyguard and friend. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see you get to marry your best friend. He kept saying “I love it here but I miss my gun and my girlfriend.”

All of us ladies

All of us ladies

Chad!

Chad!

Istanbul was a beautiful city. I felt like we didn’t have enough energy to do it justice but the parts we saw were beautiful. If you ever get the opportunity to go, grab it.

Goodbye Turkey. Memnun oldum. It was good to meet you. Maybe someday I’ll be back to see you again. But for now Hoşçakal.

2 thoughts on “Istanbul

  1. josh nisley says:

    That’s a crazy close shot of your bodyguard, but I think I recognize him. The quote is a dead giveaway. I like the full moon shot…dark and deep.

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