Sunday, July 4, 2010

Home sweet home

You know you've made a new home somewhere when you can't wait to get back to sleep in your bed! That's exactly how I felt as the bus rolled in to the Metro bus station. Actually, I was thinking is this my bus stop? The bus to Istanbul from Goreme was stopping at 3 distinct neighborhoods - Kadikoy, Sultan Ahmet, and some place I had never heard of. Kadikoy is only a half an hour from my dorm, so I decided that was the best bet. I navigated Kate and I safely and accurately to the dorms - I have mastered the transportation system!

After a much needed shower and baggage drop-off, we hit some popular Istanbul sights along with my (Turkish) friend, Utku. We toured Dolmabahce, went to the Blue Mosque, and went to the top of the Galata Tower. Tourist season has definitely begun; the lines were a bit ridiculous. Luckily we got an earlier start to our day, and standing in the sun in lines was a minimum.

Dolmabahce Palace was the last used palace for the Turkish empire. It was no longer used after Kemal Mustafa Ataturk. He was the last sultan and first prime minister. He founded the Republic of Turkey in the 1920s. This palace was only used for (I think they said..) 35 yrs. It is gorgeous, with crystal everything. The biggest chandelier weighs 4.5 tons. Holy smokes. This is also the place where Ataturk died. No pictures were allowed inside. It was a complete bummer, but I can guarantee that no matter how many pictures I took I would never be able to capture the beautiful aspects of Dolmabahce.

 Me in front of the palace

Entrance gates

There are gates opening to a boardwalk, which are astounding

 Side-view of the palace

I know nothing about Galata Tower's history except that it was a lookout tower. From the pictures, you will be able to understand why this tower was amazing. It helped me capture how big Istanbul is - the buildings go on for forever!

European side

The Golden Horn

It goes on and on and on...

It was a day well spent with my new-found friends in Turkey.

There were fireworks!!! Happy Independence Day :)

Me and Kate enjoying the Turkish lifestyle

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