|From our side of the European Istanbul|
Walking about in Istanbul our first day back, I was instantly reminded why I love being near the sea. One frustrating thing in Rome was the static air—there was no air movement, and so the heat just sat on you all day. The Bosphorus provides a near-constant breeze. That alone makes the weather here all the more bearable in comparison to Rome. The Bosphorus Strait is gorgeous; it seems to extend forever and the water is so blue! There are plans to take a tour up and down the Bosphorus Strait this weekend and I can't wait to be on the water. J
|Inside a rug shop|
|The ceiling of the Grand Bazaar|
That first full day in Istanbul was full of discovery. A group of us set out around mid-day to go explore, aiming to walk around the Grand Bazaar all day. While the Grand Bazaar was lovely, I loved the smaller, and more crowded, Spice Bazaar which we passed through and marveled at on the journey to and from the Grand Bazaar. Everything was so colorful! There were detailed and delicate patterns on almost everything we say (even the food!) and it was lively and chaotic. That is another point of comparison between Rome and Istanbul. In Rome, the neighborhood we were staying at was calm and quiet; the really crowded places were the main tourist sites. Here, everywhere is busy. Istanbul is a very active city, and the crowds are not relegated to tourists at specific locations.
|Cat on a hot tin roof, literally|
|A bridge between the two European sides|
On the cute side, many of us are falling in love with the cats that are everywhere! There is a trio of kittens that play right outside our classroom. On our walk to the restaurant for dinner, we pass by a mother and her kittens who live across the street, peeking out behind the gate as we walk by. Looking out from our kitchen window, we can see a community of 7ish cats that spend their whole day on the roofs of the nearby buildings. We even have experience talking a cat out of suicide! Called Gary (or Paul depending on who you talk to), this cat seems to live on the roof of our building. The first night here, we were up on the terrace, celebrating Caroline’s birthday (Happy Birthday Roommate!!) and we saw this cat inspecting the edge of the roof. Below him was a construction site which is currently a deep pit in the ground, at least 7 stories down. He would not leave the edge! I think we were all a bit traumatized. Luckily, he decided that that day was not the day to die and went back to the middle of the roof.
With a very eventful first day, we set the mood for our entire trip. Exploring has become a daily event, and I personally want to see as much as possible!