Sunday, July 3, 2011

Honeymoon Day 14 – June 14 – Istanbul, Turkey

After having barely slept the night of Christoph’s wedding, Jeff and I woke up on Tuesday to discover that we were not ready for a full day of sight-seeing. We decided that’s bound to happen when you’re traveling for a full month, so we took a re-charging day. We slept until noon, and then started our day with lunch. We ate at Ziya Sark Sofrasi, recommended by our tourbook. We had hummus, a really tasty lamb pide (Turkish pizza), and a chicken kebab. We love Turkish food, so every meal was exciting for us.

Right next door there was sweetshop with a window full of amazing-looking desserts, so we headed there next. Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs, and we ended up filling up a box with about $25 worth of tiny desserts. The baklava is some of the best I’ve ever had, though. There was also Turkish delight, in all different flavors, many with nuts cooked into them. The Turkish delight was really great – there was no flavor that I didn’t like.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Movie Tie-in Edition (Narnia)Whenever I think of Turkish delight, it reminds me of the C.S. Lewis book, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” which my dad read to me when I was little. Back then, I thought that Turkish delight, which the witch uses to lull Edmund in, was a made-up candy, just like the imaginary animal characters in the book. It wasn’t until my junior year in college, which I spent in England, that I saw some for sale and realized it was a real thing. But the Turkish delight I bought in the discount store in England is not even close to as good as the freshly made Turkish delight in the store here. I wish there had been a way to bring some home, but with the trip to Thailand and California still ahead, I thought it wouldn’t make sense. (Who thought there’d be a downside to the trip to Thailand and California?)

We spent most of our afternoon walking through the Istanbul Archeological Museum – it’s really big, so we still didn’t really see everything. They have so many sculptures and statues and sarcophagi, you wonder if there were any left for other museums. They have artifacts dating back to 2700 B.C., which is crazy – it’s so incredible to imagine that there were people making pots and living life almost 5000 years ago, and that we still have those pots today. They had an exhibit with coins dating all the way back to 100 or so B.C., which was also surreal. Probably our favorite part of the exhibit, though, was the collection of letters written in stone in the Hittite Language – I think they were from hundreds of years B.C. They were translated so you could read the random information that people thought was important enough to chisel into stone and send via messenger – some were agreements between kings, or explanations of recent events (usually by very important or powerful people).

After about three hours, we ran out of museum energy. We walked to a tea shop located at the wall of the Topkapi Palace, overlooking the Marmara Sea. We had a couple cups of really great tea and enjoyed the view, and then decided what we really needed was another nap.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)We walked back to our hotel and spent the evening relaxing and reading (I finished the last book in ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy!). Jeff ran out at one point to get us a Doner and a Kofte (Turkish meatball) sandwich, and that was it for the day!

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