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This past weekend was packed full of adventure. We are trying to make the most of our time in Istanbul – I can hardly believe that we’ve been here for a week and a half already! All of a sudden, five weeks in Turkey seems very short indeed.

On Saturday, a few of us took a ferry over to the Asian side of Istanbul. We had no particular destination in mind and found ourselves wandering the streets at our own pace. The Asian side of Istanbul was pleasant – less touristy and a little more conservative (lots of headscarves).

While there, we discovered a cool coffee shop, stumbled upon a cemetery filled with cats…

…witnessed a traffic jam resulting from someone triple parking and then abandoning their car, and were amused by two rambunctious boys playing soccer in the ferry terminal.

Saturday night, we headed into Taksim, which is a busy area of shops, restaurants, clubs, and bars where lots of young people hang out. We ate at a sketchy “fish house” where they brought out a tray of dead fish and held them up for us to ponder (needless to say, I did not order any fish). We then headed to a hole in the wall venue that was packed with locals and had great live music. 

On Sunday, we took the bus to Şile, a beach town on the Black Sea. The weather started off iffy, but it turned into a beautiful day. We swam, ate gelato, and got a little bit sunburned in the process (even I did, oops). 

For me it was most interesting to see the mix of bathing attire worn by the women at the beach. Some women were in tiny bikinis, while others like the woman above dipped into the sea in full clothing, headscarf included. I saw a woman in a full body swimming suit and swim cap walk along the beach with her daughter, who was in a bikini. Our group was in the middle, as all of us wore one-piece swimsuits. Except for the guys, of course.