Today was another special day in this very historically significant city and country. Many of us met at school, but Defne B., Sophia D., and I rendezvoused with the group in front of the Sultan Ahmet Mosque (Blue Mosque). After a thorough visit and viewing of this architectural masterpiece, we walked across the square to the Aya Sofia to observe closely the great wonder of this museum of Byzantine Christianity clashing with Ottoman Islam. The girls and I walked through the site together and appreciated the almost 1500-year-old structure; our visit was concluded with chocolate cake, coffee, and tea. We are all really getting used to this European lifestyle of celebrating each site we visit with chocolate and caffeine.
Our final stop in the Sultanahmet district was at the Basillica Cistern, another 6th Century Byzantine marvel. Walking through it brought perspective for all of us about the sophisticated society that has thrived in this region for thousands of years.
Of course by this time it was time to eat, so we headed to the Darussade Rooftop Terrace Cafe, located in the hotel of the same name where Jon and I have stayed while in Istanbul. It is owned and managed by the wife and family of Ediz Kaya, the teacher at ÜAA who came to CA in January and who is hosting us while we are in Istanbul. The girls enjoyed the views and the amazing food. We then transferred to the Doğan Media Group where we took a tour of the TV and print facilities. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of many of the most popular TV shows in Turkey, as well as insights into what it means to be a media company in Turkey. Of course, they treated us to a mid-afternoon meal/snack of sandwiches, fries, pistachio chocolate cake, coffee, and tea.
Wednesday will be a day filled with good-byes to the school and the city. We will meet at ÜAA, then go on a Bosphorus river cruise, with a fresh fish lunch, then head back to the European side to finish our shopping. I’ll be in touch as we begin our journey home!