On Sunday, a group of my exchange student friends and I went to the old city in Istanbul, planning to take an organized tour of all the major sites in the area. However, we couldn’t get our student Muzee cards, so instead we just decided to take our time and wander around Sultanahmet (the Blue Mosque), which is free to enter since it’s still a functioning mosque. The architecture and tile detailing inside were absolutely breathtaking.
It was nice to be able to take in Sultanahmet at our own pace rather than following a tour. We will definitely return to this area to see the the Aya Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Roman Cisterne, but I’m here until June so I don’t feel rushed.
On Tuesday morning, I went out to breakfast with a few friends to a cafe that is just a couple minutes walk from the university. It was probably the best breakfast I’d ever had – pişi (sort of like funnel cake, but less sweet) with jam, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, olives, and of course tea. We liked it so much that we went back on Wednesday and I got the same thing.
On Tuesday, I went to Kadikoy again with a group of friends. The weather was so gorgeous so we sat outside on the deck of the ferry during the ride across the river. We just wandered around, and then got a fish dinner – calamari, mussels, shrimp, and some kind of fried fish that I can’t remember the name of. I have never had such good seafood before, and now I’m not sure I can eat calamari in the US because this was so delicious! We went back to the European side at the perfect time, because the sun was setting just as we were taking the ferry back.
I’m definitely beginning to adjust to life here, which is good since I’ll be living here for another four months. I’ve found the best place to buy groceries, the cheapest restaurants nearby, and the best wine for 9 TL. Classes start on Monday, and I’ve got a good schedule picked out. I’m taking 2 sociology courses, Turkish language, and yoga. It will be nice to settle into a good routine and be a student again – 2 months off from school has been too long!