Day 25 – Istanbul

I woke up at 6AM.  I couldn’t believe today I had to be at the airport.  WHY!??!!  I need just one more day to say good-bye properly.  As I plotted ways to miss my plane, to figure out a way to wash dishes and afford an apartment, I said my goodbye’s to the lucky remaining students bound for Greece and Italy, and boarded the shuttle to the airport.

Luckily, I had company on the bus to talk to to keep my eyes from wandering off to look out the window at the Bosphorus, Mosques, Palaces, Businesses, and people.  I think now in hindsight, I would have teared and went into a mad frenzy in order to be deemed un fit to fly so that I could have another day or two there.  :-p

At the airport, I checked my bags.  It was official, I was leaving and had no other way out.  I hugged our tour guide Deniz, telling her not necessarily goodbye….

Somehow, I know I’ll be back…

Day 20 – Istanbul

FREE DAY!!!  FREE DAY!!!

I woke up a little later than normal.  About 9:30am to be precise.  It was time to do some work on my presentation for the Turkish Cultural Foundation.  I spent the morning into afternoon working on my research.  Good thing the internet was cooperative.

We (Me, Kipenzi & Yaneva) went to the Grand Bazaar for a late lunch.  We dined at a place located in the Distributors area behind the bazaar.  It was pretty tasty!  The best lamb kabap EVER!

Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to drop off some packages and then to we were off to check out the new Armaggon store that just opened in Sultanhamet.  If there’s one thing that is awe inspiring is the green wall.  Plants they use in their natural dyes are stylized on the what seems to be a 60 foot high wall.

We then left and headed to Nisantasi to do some last minute shopping at the mall.  We sadly closed the mall but learned that when the mall closes, the mall closes.  The people in the mall are out maybe 5 minutes after closing time.  How they do it?  I have no clue but the dark mall was a little creepy to walk out of.

We then headed over to the place we had lunch at the day before.  We were determined to have another good meal at Elio.  On the way, we were stopped by a gentleman who remembered us from the Grand Bazaar.  He offered us fruit and wine and to come in and check out his store, KOÇ Leather.  We tried on coats and I developed a new passion for leather jackets.  My next trip will involve shopping at this store!  The leather quality was high and the styles were beautifully feminine and sexy.

We met the owner of the store who also teaches and writes.  We complimented him on his store and bombarded him with questions before realizing we should set up an appointment.  He was very nice and offered to meet with us all later in order to give us time to gather up questions.

The next stop was Elio.  Unfortunately, the kitchen closed when the mall closed.  😦  But one thing consistent about Turkish people, they are very nice and super accommodating.  The bartender went out of his way to bring us meals back from somewhere else.  WOW!  Really?  Yes.  It was a moment I realized these were my type of people.  Being considerate of others is a very cool thing 🙂

The bartender, Luciano invited us to a place called Melon around the corner from the restaurant.  We checked it out for about 20 minutes and then headed to another place for about 30 minutes.  I really wish I remembered the name of the second place as it was a really cool night spot to have a Turkish night.  It begins with a C and has a restaurant attached to it.  They mixed a lot of Turkish music.

We then headed back to the hotel.

The entire day felt like a dream.  The free day was now officially over… time to get back to work!