This city is a study in wonder. On Sunday, I went on a tour of ancient buildings. The tour guide was a well informed young man and all of the tourists spoke English. I even met a guy from New Jersey who became my companion on the tour. To be able to speak nothing but English for 8 hours was a godsend. The guy told me that he had dated the same woman, who lives next door to him, for 30 years! How do you do that? Well, he explained patiently, she has her space and I have mine and it just works out. We also discussed current US politics, Corey Booker and … Anthony Weiner (LOL!!). As we passed a group of women covered from head and face to toe, my companion reminded me that that would be me very soon … I laughed for a while off that (mostly accurate) observation.
I also met fellow adventurists from Brazil, Curacao, Columbia, and one Indian couple who lives in Chicago, but were on their way to Mecca for Hajj. The husband asked me if the new Bay Bridge was open! I was shocked to get that question. The world has become so much smaller for me.
The ancient structures of Istanbul are many. Our first stop was the Hagia Sofia, or Church of Divine Wisdom. I was in awe of the church, which became a mosque, and then a museum. We also visited the Blue Mosque, where the women had to cover their heads and shoulders and everyone had to remove their shoes. We then went on to the Hippodrome, did a little shopping at a department store, and finally went to Topkapi Palace. I had my first cup of Turkish coffee, and enjoyed it’s bitter strength very much – but I still miss Peet’s.
An amazing city, cultured companions, and a perfect day!