One of the girls in our drom invited us over for a "sofreh" dinner. We set out blankets and newpaper on the floor and we enjoyed Kebap, salad, yogurt, and dessert. After she was sweet enough to make us turkish coffee as we talked. We decided to have a movie night with her a few days later where we showed a few of the turkish girls "pitch perfect." I wasn't sure if they would enjoy that movie at first but they seemed to really like it (mainly because of the cute guys in the movie).
This week we started the week by visiting the Ankara castle. My eyes were opened up to a lot of illegal homes that were built around it. I never knew there was such a large population of poverty in this small area of town. Such a hitorical and beautiful artchitectural piece that overlooked the entire city actually hid a dark secret underneath it that was quite sad. When the sun went down, the area turned very spooky since it was known to be an area that had a high amount of crime.
During our long weekend this week we traveled to Istanbul. Luckily, our apartment that we rented was in a very good location so we only needed to take the metro a few stops when we needed to get to Taksim, and we were walking distance to most restaurants that we wanted to go to. Istanbul is such a lively city and reminded me so much of the bigger cities in the states. Even though I'm not sure I could ever live in a city like this long term, I definitely could see myself coming back and spending more time.
On our first night, we visited a pub where we got to sit in a little outdoor patio area. The walls had a lot of writing on them, and we decided to leave our mark there as well.I had never visited a Sunni mosque in my life, but I finally got to see one here in Istanbul. The blue mosque was absolutely stunning. It had a blue sheen to it where it blended beautifully in with the sky. When looking at it from far away it looked like it had just come out of a fairy tale. I found it so beautiful that people traveled from different parts of the world to be be able to pray in this mosque.
We went to the Hagia Sofya, and the architecture was everything that I thought it would be like and more. The details on everything was mesmerizing and it amazed me that such complex, beautiful architecture was developed so long ago. On the left, this dome like structure contained the fountains where people did wuzu (in Islam it is a ritual where you cleanse before you go pray) and where you could also get water.
I didn't know much of the history behind the Hagia Sofya, but I found it interesting how it started out as a church and then it was changed to a mosque. The remnants of the church remained since there were christian figures still remaining on te walls which is an evident sign that it wasnt Islamic since they don't have art that outlines humans or people. The artwork of both religions made a beautiful combination which I had never seen in any other relgious building before.
When traveling from the Asian side of Istanbul to the European side, we took a ferry and got to see a good view of the entire bosphorous and all the landmarks which border it.
One thing that I am truly going to miss about Turkey is the Turkish breakfast. Every morning we would go to a cafe, and luckily they had an amazing turkish breakfast. A normal turkish breakfast consists of eggs, different types of cheeses, bread, jam, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and honey. I'm going to miss a breakfast that is so filling since back home I normally just grab a protein bar as I'm rushing out of the house. I enjoy how the turkish culture emphasizes breakfast so much.