Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Istanbul and the Black Sea

The next portion of our trip we headed to Istanbul.  We got up early on Tuesday morning and hit the open roads.  Getting to Istanbul was an adventure.  First of all, we did NO research and depended solely on our GPS which kept wanting us to drive ALL the way back to Sofia (the other direction) then to Istanbul.  Getting through Bulgaria was the first crazy part since there are no highways.  I navigated us using maps...I am NOT going at map reading!  We crossed into Turkey and had a beautiful highway!  It was awesome!

Sidenote:  I was scheduled to have a phone interview for our next Post.  I had planned that we would pull over on the side of the road and do the interview while the guys stepped out of the car for to give my privacy.  The interview kept getting pushed back due to "technical difficulties."  So this panel of folks calls me about 5 minutes after we wind up in dead stopped traffic in the middle of Istanbul.  I have no choice but to do it then and there.  At the same time our GPS went totally haywire and had NO idea where we were going.  Matt's trying to navigate the CRAZED traffic, I'm in the front seat answering "scenario" type questions with a panel of interviewers and Dan is in the back seat trying to read a map.  Craziness.  The interview lasted 35 min and when I got off the phone we still had no idea where the hell we were!  For the record:  I wasn't offered that position, but another position rather.

Once we finally found our hotel, it ended up being RIGHT across the street from the hotel we stayed in last time.  I had no idea, Matt did all of the planning.  It was nice because we had an idea of the area.

Now, this was our 3rd time to Istanbul in the last 15 months.  Surprisingly we didn't repeat anything while we were there.

 One of the only photos of the 3 of us, taken by a man trying to get us into his carpet shop.  Blue Mosque in the background.
 Hagia Sophia photo.
This photo is totally inappropriate, I knew.  One of my favorite things (so weird, I know) about this part of the world is all the stray animals.  It's amazing to watch them mix with the normal population.  In Turkey there are SO many kitties.  We were at Topkapi palace here and I was just amazed out how brazen/not bothered this cat was, there were 100s of people around.  When you gotta go, you gotta go I guess. 
 Entrance to the Palace.
 Beautiful views of the bosphorous straight and Marmara Sea.

 I love the turkish colors in their tiles/pottery.  Well, since being oversees it turns out I have an obsession with pottery in general.  For instance there was this jar/vase that I saw last time we were in Istanbul and didn't buy it because I couldn't bargain it down enough...I HATE to barter, Matt's even worse.  Well, this time I went back to the very store and bought the exact jar/vase because I had been thinking about it since our last trip.  I'll have to take a photo and post.

The palace Harem.  In my opinion the Topkapi doesn't do a great job of explaining/helping you understand how life was back in the days of the Sultans.  There's another palace, The Dolmbache that does a WAY better job and is much better to see (even though all the books tell you to go visit this palace.)
 We've never been into the Blue Mosque so this time we decided we'd do it. 

 You have to take off your shoes (luckily I had socks!)  and it says that women should cover their heads.  Once we were inside there were some women without headcoverings, not sure why they had to abide by different rules?
 Our second day we decided that we needed to go for a boat ride.  We weren't feeling the public ferry's (Matt and I had done this on a previous trip) so we decided to rent an entire boat!  We all agreed it was our favorite part.  The afternoon cruise was PERFECT and GORGEOUS!!

After our cruise we were a couple of Turkish beverages deep and decided to go gather some previsions before we headed out for dinner.  While Matt and Dan were gathering I stumbled into this pottery store (shocker) that had a carpet shop in the back.  If you don't know, Turkey is famous for it's carpets (like many places in the middle east) and purchasing a rug is quite the experience.

I"m pretty sure the above carpet is the one that I ended up purchasing.  I would know exactly because it's still rolled up in the bag because I'm too afraid to unpack it for fear that our cat will have our way with it.  I have promised myself that our new house will have lots of hardwood floors and I will use BOTH of our Turkish rugs there :)
Ok, I was going to do the Black Sea in this post (it'll be a quickie) but I think it's been too long of a post already so I'll save it.

Until next time.

P.S.  I DEFINITELY need to figure out how to be more concise and to the point.  I am SO long winded.  ha.

1 comment:

  1. I love the long winded!! The cat photo made me laugh out loud!!!
    When I saw you rented a boat I thought that you rented and drove. I'm guessing that wasn't the case?
    Also, you're going to be so happy you bought those rugs years to come.
    My ex-boyfriend worked in India for 6-months and that was my only request.. bring me a rug back.
    I still have it and it's cashmere and silk.
    Just know you can have them shampooed. They have to be hande cleaned..basically - it with a broom. Otherwise, the colors run together.