Finishing up in Istanbul

Posted on January 25th, 2012 by

Today was one of those days that I didn’t want to start because I didn’t want it to end.  The experience we have shared as a group in Istanbul has been incredible.

Since we had all day free to do whatever we chose.  I chose to go to the Grand Bazaar one last time to start the day.  During our stint in the Bazaar, we ran into fellow Gusties Annalise Dobbelstein and Mara Johnson-Groh.  After having some good, great, and terrible experiences while buying gifts for others and myself, I headed to lunch. I bought my last Durum Doner Kebab and savored every last bite!

After lunch, it was time to do some serious packing.  While I had gotten most of my belongings into my suitcase and backpack yesterday, I had to figure out how to fit all of my new purchases in as well.

After a brief respite at the hotel, I ventured out again.  This time to my favorite pastry shop in Sultanahmet.  After leaving the bakery, Jill Rykken and I found ourselves with front row seats to a protest.  Five men were on top of a one-story building near the Hippodrome, surrounded by a police blockade.  The men were yelling and throwing their half empty beer bottles at the police officers.  By asking around we found out that the men were selling “things” on the street, had gotten in trouble with the police, and climbed on top of the building.  It was also thought the men were on some sort of drug, although it wasn’t known for sure.  The whole thing ended with the men trying to set the building on fire, but not actually lighting it, and climbing down into police custody.  Jill and I were on the ten o’clock news in Istanbul!

After that eventful afternoon, we went to one more shop and then to a restaurant for one last Efes and some french fries.  We met a couple from Baltimore that is currently traveling around the world and talked with them for about an hour, swapping stories.

A last view of the Blue Mosque

The day ended with an unsuccessful hunt for waffles throughout the Sultanahmet district and even more packing.  Currently we all have our doors open, music playing, and suitcases open.  Eight AM is going to come sooner than we would like, but it will be nice to be back in Minnesota.  I hear it snowed there!


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