I have been thinking about this blog post for a while now and I’ve come to the conclusion that my ‘Top 10’ will continuously change, and has changed a handful of times in the past four weeks at home, as I recount my experience abroad. It might be years before I can come up with a concrete list, or maybe I’ll never have one. Here is a stab at this week’s Top 10, June 17, 2013.
one: On top of the Buyuk Valide Han & Bazaar Tour w/ Waverly – this I know was my all time favorite experience of study abroad, the rest are subject to shift around and change. Call to prayer and an abandoned textile machine (with pattern cards still intact!!!) plus Waverly’s insight into the Grand Bazaar made for a perfect day in my book.
two: The Day Istanbul Shut Down (Mayday) – amazing to see a city with such life hampered for a while & we stumbled upon some very unique experiences on our trek to Edirne, a favorite being tea with the Istanbul Coast Guard.
three: Bosphorus Tour – I’d never give ferries / boats a fighting chance before I rode one all along the Bosphorus – the combination of viewing the city from the water and getting a comprehensive feel and look for its size, added to the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying my time on a boat and smelling the salty water made this experience one I thought about daily in Istanbul, and continue to think about now. Plus you can get on one of those things so easily! What a rush!
four: Cappadocia: balloon ride, the most unique landscapes I’ve seen in my life thus far, cave searching, and climbing up the rocks above / behind the Yusuf Yigitoglu Konagi to get a view.
five: Mosques. They have architectural forms, feelings, and spaces that I’ll be trying to figure out for years to come, but were astounding. From the Ottoman mosques to Sinan’s masterpieces, I’m very fortunate and thankful to have visited so many mosques and mosque complexes, thank you Ozayr and Deniz Karakas! Some that stand out for me are the Fatih Mosque, Shezade, and Eyup Mosque.
six: Florence: Palazzo Vecchio, the Duomo, Uffizi (The Birth of Venus….!!!), visiting with Andrea Ponsi, a night out with Juan and Haydar when we climbed up a hill and sat after hours in a café’s outdoor seating and looked on over Florence and smelled the night – particularly remember running down the hill and feeling quite liberated.
seven: Ephesus – the Library of Celsus facade I tell you, most beautiful ruin I think I saw.
eight: Collondaded spaces: Sant’ivo alla Sapienza – Borromini, just beautiful, Bramante’s Cloister, the cloister off of Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane – not to mention the whole Borromini / Bernini duel that was going on all over Rome – and all the Mosque courtyards we saw throughout our time in Istanbul.
nine: Palermo: Alice, our ex-palace hotel owner, was the perfect woman to start a trip in a strange new place with. Hospitality and great rooms, although it took us forever to figure out we could turn the heat on in them, made for a perfect welcome to Italy. Going out and exploring on our own with a new group of people and getting to know each other is something I’ll never forget. We just walked and stopped when one of us saw something that intrigued them – then ventured through the city to find the catacombs. Unforgettable.
ten: The food. Everywhere.
Durumzade, Ciya, Flaming Chicken, Faruk’s (clotted cream and honey!), Doy Doy, my morning simit vendor on the way to Osmanbay tram, pasta all over Italy, croissants, amaretti cookies (!!!), gelato, brie cheese, breads, Simply flakes (never forgetting those), Hosbes waffers, the bakery down our street in Istanbul, Sara’s cooking, my staple Magnum bars, corba around the city, karasik toast, Iskander kebap, yogurt, kofte, croquettes in Cordoba, bull tail in Cordoba, my taste of heart, Fasuli restaurant near Karakoy, pomegranate, the new fruits I tried which can only be described as ‘mini green apples’, which I think were premature apricots, and a wonderful yellow fruit with shiny brown seeds that we tried at Waverly’s house – plus all the other fresh fruits and veggies available at the Sunday market near our house in Istanbul.
Close Runners Up this week…
11) the people of Istanbul – creativity abounds, generous, and pleasant
12) the public spaces – we don’t have them like Rome and Istanbul do
13) ruins in the Jewish Ghetto, Rome
14) Hagia Sophia
15) ‘Armpit Church’ that we saw on the way to dinner our first night in Rome – just tickled me that it was wedged right in there – real name, Santa Barbara dei Librari.
17) Rumi’s Tomb
!!! and of course not forgetting all the new relationships that have formed through this trip, my wolf pack of classmates, Ozayr & family, Deniz Karakas, Brad Agee, Deniz Bingol & family, Waverly & family, Mark and Nedret, Buket, Antonella, all our guest reviewers, and the list goes on! It would have been a lonely and certainly less exciting trip without you all.
and an unofficial extra: (not everyone had the chance to see this)
I was fortunate enough to spend five days in Cordoba, Spain and see my friend who is studying abroad there. We went to La Mezquita and I was speechless. One of the most impressive and interesting spaces I’ve ever visited. Mosque and church together. Plaza de la Corredera was also memorable.