Saturday, February 14, 2015

Istanbul!

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)
I am finally feeling like I am in a foreign country, now that I've arrived in Istanbul. I left Antalya this morning on Turkish Air and arrived at the airport on the Asian side of the city, Sabiha Gökçen, which is named after the first female combat pilot in Turkey. The city is divided by the Bosphorus into the Asian side and the European side, and I have to say I'm glad I got to experience this wonderful airport. We were taken from the terminal by a bus to load onto the plane, which had two entrances, front and back, and other than having to lug my bag up the steps, it was quick to load and we took off on time. The flight is almost exactly an hour, and they served us a wonderful sandwich and coffee, much nicer than anything I would get at home. (That is, if the airlines ever served FOOD any more, which they don't.)
Sitting down to our first food in Istanbul
The others had all arrived much sooner than we did, since they landed at the Atatürk Airport on the European side. When the four of us checked into the hotel, we found that they were already in the meeting room having started to work on the report proceedings. Once we were brought up to speed, we agreed to let everyone have a chance to wander around and see the sights and get back together this evening. While we were out, it was time for lunch and I must say I really enjoyed my wonderful food. You point at what you want and a man ladles it onto the plate.
Spinach, vegetables, rice
I was shocked at how much food it was, and had I known the serving sizes, I wouldn't have gotten the vegetables. The rice and spinach were so delicious I ate all of them but left the others, as I was suddenly way too full. This meal, plus a small bottle of sparkling water, was 30 Turkish lira (about $12). Next time, I will not get so much, but it was sure good.
Marie-Ange and Catalina
We are just a few blocks from the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia Mosque and will be touring both of them either tomorrow or Monday before we return home. Karen has arranged a half-day tour for us, which will make sure to give us a chance to experience the best of the city. Both of these beautiful women are also on the writing team, and most of us will stay until Tuesday to work on the document. Mickey assured us we will also have a chance to see the sights.
Charms to keep away the Evil Eye
I've learned that there are actually two different versions of this eye charm: this one is to ward off the Evil Eye, and the Eye of Fatima is inside a hand. I'm not quite sure of all the differences, but I'll be sure to let you know when I learn more. I'm definitely going to be buying more of these, as they are very inexpensive. I am very glad that during this part of the trip I have recovered from jet lag and will enjoy everything. Time to head down to the bar and quaff my nightly glass of red wine. More later!
:-)

29 comments:

  1. Enjoy reading all about your trip. Sounds like a wonderful experience.

    ReplyDelete
  2. really glad you're getting time to explore, eat, shop and absorb the culture as well as work!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just finished breakfast, which is good because I’d be famished looking at all the delicious food you showed us. I am pleased you are enjoying Istanbul, my father’s hometown. Be sure to haggle when you buy anything – even if there is a price tag, it is the custom. The color blue is against the evil eye and when I was little my father had me wear a small bracelet with blue turquoise on them. There is so much to see and enjoy in Istanbul – I hope you can see more of it. Will you go to the Grand Bazaar? You need to try – the colors, the sounds, the sights, you will have a ball.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I forgot to add that the Grand Bazaar is one of the largest in the world with 61 covered streets and over 3000 shops!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aren't the Turks famous for shishkebobs? I used to enjoy eating them in Los Angelis. I know, you won't eat meat. Lol.

    I still have souvenirs from India that I give to friends who invite me to their home for dinner.

    ReplyDelete
  6. how wonderful this trip to Istanbul!

    ReplyDelete
  7. nice....not constantinople, right? ha....i am going to have that song stuck in my head now....i love trying the food where ever i go...mmm....sounds good....

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am glad you are recovering from the Jet Lag...have a fun few days, I am anxious to see all your photos when you get back! Enjoy! I am allergic to so many foods I would be stuck eating the bread :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely! I'm quite envious, have always wanted to visit Istanbul, and it gets more and more frustrating every time I transit through the airport! :p

    I hope you have time to visit plenty!!! Not just Hagia Sofia... And of course get some good work done.

    Have a great weekend! Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm loving traveling along with you via this blog! It looks like you are having a wonderful time!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What I have is the Evil Eye, It must be a lovely place to visit. I bet the food has some lovely spices added.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks like you are having a wonderful time! How fun! Thanks for sharing your photos and story.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am so glad you are getting some free time to just be tourists and enjoy. I was afraid it might have been an all work trip. Interesting that the Turks believe super sizing the food also.
    Keep having a great time and recording it for us also.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's quite an experience to order food when you are in a completely different culture. You are getting lots of time to see things. Bonus!

    ReplyDelete
  15. All those lovely vegetable are right down your alley!
    I'm glad you will be getting to see some of the important sights there. This is a very historic city.

    ReplyDelete
  16. The Blue Mosque!!! You are so lucky to be able to see all this. So exited for you. Be safe!

    ReplyDelete
  17. OH what fun that you are travelling. Some day I wish to travel to Turkey also. I'm looking forward to fabulous middle eastern/mediterranean food. I suppose if you know the places locals go the food might be a little less expensive in Istanbul? It seems that is how it is all over the world. Have fun.

    ReplyDelete
  18. O my! Just catching up & what an adventure your having...:)

    ReplyDelete
  19. wonderfull spot to explore, enjoy

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks so much from bringing me with. ;) What an adventure!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Charms to ward away an evil eye are good. Gotta like that.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Be sure to pay attention to which Grand Bazaar gate you enter. Otherwise you'll get quite lost - as we did.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It all looks wonderful - the food, the sights, the colors!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Very interesting and with your blue aura you should be well equipped in case the evil eye tries to get you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What an excellent adventure!! The food looks scrumptious, the camaraderie perfect and the sights and sounds...fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Continue to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes of this ancient culture.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is such a great adventure. The food, the people, the sights and sounds, and the new experiences must be exhausting and exhilarating.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've been wanting to stop by to see what you were seeing, but have been inundated with guests and Flat Stanley and just exhaustion.

    I'm so happy I have a bit of time tonight before I crash so that I can enjoy what you're seeing and live vicariously. By the way, we did make expensive changes to our Seattle schedule since Linda told me everything is popping out way earlier than expected.

    ReplyDelete

I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.