After getting to the airport gate for Istanbul, I met three (eventually four) of my fellow program. They were just as excited and clueless as what to really expect as I was. But it was good to finally meet others with my plight. Also traveling in our direction, was a girl named Beliz. A graduate student from Turkey studying at Boston University. She was immediately helpful and one of the nicest people I’ve met in a long time. We unfortunately lost contact with her in Istanbul. That was terrible because she was definitely a person I would like to know and have in my life, ironically her name means ‘unforgettable’.
We had a super long layover in Istanbul, so we decided to tour the city for a bit. The city is amazing. At once, one feels the history and culture of this place. But at the same time it has a modern touch. We took the metro to two famous landmarks.
Known as the Blue Mosque, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is currently one of the most impressive monuments in the world.
Istanbul’s most famous landmark, the Hagia Sophia (also Ayasofya) was built by the emperor Justinian I in the year 537 AD.
Afterwards we ate at a sidewalk café. The beauty of the city inspired our first toast. And the call to prayer from the minarets ushered in the setting sun on this picturesque ancient city.
“Istanbul was Constantinople
Now it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople
Been a long time gone, Constantinople
Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night”
Istanbul (Not Constantinople), They Might Be Giants