Hello everyone! We arrived safely in Istanbul on Monday and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. Here are some random thoughts on what we’ve seen and done so far…
1. Traffic here is NUTS. Apparently there are 600,00 traffic accidents per year and after observing and crossing traffic for the past few days, that number seems low.
2. Stray cats and dogs rule Istanbul. They are everywhere. Some of them have tags in their ears, which means they’ve been vaccinated. We try to avoid them regardless.
3. The Bosphorus is beautiful. This is the view we get on our walk to school every day:
4. I’m going to have to get used to being sweaty, because it has been very hot and somewhat humid here. It stormed on Tuesday which helped it cool off a bit, but now it’s back to being hot and humid.
6. The call to prayer, which happens 5 times a day, is beautiful. I was awake at 5:20 this morning to hear it thanks to jet lag and as a result almost wasn’t upset that I couldn’t sleep. Almost. Experience it here.
7. The Grand Bazaar is confusing, huge, and ridiculously overwhelming. Vendors can tell that you are American and know how to get your attention. When our lovely tour guide Sarap was leading us through the spice market, they kept yelling “Spice girls!” at us. When another vendor asked if he could help me and I said no thank you, he responded with “Why not?”
8. The Blue Mosque (or Sultanahmet, the current header picture to this blog) and the Hagia Sophia (below) are breathtaking. The Hagia Sophia is this amazing blend of Islam and Christianity, with both Arabic script on the walls and mosaics of Jesus Christ.
9. Not knowing how to speak Turkish is almost as humiliating as trying to speak Turkish. We started class today and our day consists of 5 grueling hours of Turkish. It is not easy my friends, not easy. For example, “tesekkür ederim” is “thank you”, pronounced tehsehkeredairemm. Or something like that. They’re smushed together and come out in a blur.
That’s all for now folks!