Istanbul (Was Constantinople)

I went to Istanbul on a similar mission as Athens: to see a friend. My friend Holly likes to point out that I go places for one reason. She’s right. Because then if you get that one thing done, you’re happy and everything else is an amazing bonus.

My friend Nesli and I met in Avignon two summers ago. We were on a youth exchange program to go to the Avignon International Theater Festival. It was the trip that sparked my travel bug and I was so happy to get to reconnect with someone that I had met there.

The stop ended up being the one in which I learned the most about a different culture and way of life. I was glad to be with people I knew there, Nesli and her boyfriend Ozon mostly, because they led the way and helped me on the uneven streets and busy roads. In turn, I got to better absorb the atmosphere without worry.

Istanbul is people. It is tonnes of people. It is also, in my opinion, where can see the most interesting fusions of culture. The European designer store right next to the ancient mosque. It’s fascinating.

The Cistern
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We also went to the Blue Mosque and Galata Tower

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But the best part of Istanbul for me was just sitting drinking coffee with my friends and discussing difference. Perhaps I was just still ill from Athens, but I’m not sure. I think I just liked the casual chats. You get to know a place through its people.

The last night, we went to a gig where Nesli’s brother’s band was playing. They sang English covers alot, but towards the end of the night (morning…the gig didn’t start until midnight), they sang Turkish songs and her friends tried to teach me Turkish dancing. It was an experience I will not soon forget.

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The next morning I got on a plane. The stewardesses had English accents. I have never been so glad to hear accents that were definitively London.

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