Wednesday, March 17, 2010
One of the nice things about the Peace Corps is that we accrue vacation days, and another PC friend of mine and I decided to spend our first 6 days in Turkey. It was surprising to me that Istanbul was almost due east from Skopje. In my mind's map it was considerably south, but if anything, Istanbul is a little north. It's also very close. Our flight took only a little over an hour - less than the time it takes to fly from Portland to San Francisco! We flew on Turkish Air - a lovely airline that actually served us meals on every flight we took (we actually had 6 different legs), even though the shortest was a little under an hour. I didn't realize how little I knew about Turkey until I went there.
I was expecting warm weather - remember I thought it was south - but instead the weather was cool and rainy. Istanbul is a huge city - 15 million people - 9 million of whom live on the European side and 6 million on the Asian side. It was selected the European Center of Culture for 2010 - another surprise. We stayed close to the Sultanamed district, named that because the Sultans lived in Topaki Palace which crowns the hill there overlooking the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara. Our hotel room was small but the hotel staff were great - they bent over backwards to make us happy. Breakfast was included, and it was a huge layout of all kinds of yogurt, cheeses, salads, eggs, breads, lots of eggplant, zuccchini and other veggies - a feast. We got to the hotel late afternoon the first day and by the time we were settled it was time for dinner. We went to a fish place under the Galata bridge by the fish market and watched the boats go by. One of the things I love about Istanbul is that people are there from all over and you hear a variety of languages and see a variety of people whereever you go. Istanbul - I was there - seems like a dream. More later.
Posted by Candice Wiggum at 1:01 PM