Exploring Istanbul: Part 2

It’s been over 3 weeks since my last blog. In my defence, it’s been a very busy time with teaching … anyway, I’d like to tell you about a few trips I have made, and what Dale and I have been up to recently.

In my last blog, I said that I had gone on a great trip with friends Henrik and Sevgi along the old city walls, and exploring the Golden Horn. We met by the Hagia Sophia, and took the tram to the old city walls, and followed them for a while. We then visited the Mihrimah Sultan Mosque, designed by the great Sinan, and which I thought was quite beautiful. We then walked to the Chora Church, originally a Byzantine church, then an Ottoman mosque, and currently a museum. The Lonely Planet says that “Istanbul has more than its fair share of Byzantine monuments, but few are as drop-dead gorgeous as this mosaic- and fresco-laden church.” After seeing it for myself, I completely agree with them. We then walked through a fascinating part of Istanbul, the Fener-Balat quarter. This area is traditionally Greek and Jewish, and are a combination of old and new. An article from the Guardian describes it thusly: “In the side-by-side quarters of Fener and Balat, lines of drying laundry stretch across steep, winding streets. Century-old Ottoman houses lean against each other in a kaleidoscope of reds, blues and greens. And art galleries and design shops dot the area along the water.” I delighted in wandering through the old streets, and exploring the Church of St. George, better known as the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. We then walked along the Golden Horn, and ended by making our way through the busy streets of Eminonu, where you can find anything you need. After a hot chocolate, we made our separate ways home. Here are a few pictures of the journey.

I have also been on a few other trips. One was to the Museum of Innocence, a museum built around Orhan Pamuk’s book of the same name. I went on this trip with three other teachers and about a dozen of the school’s residential students, and quite enjoyed it. I have to go back when I have finished reading the book! It is an absolutely gorgeous museum with incredible detail, and one can imagine the fictional lives portrayed in the book. You should also read this blog about the museum, and Pamuk’s Modest Manifesto for Museums.

Dale and I continue to enjoy our Sunday Bosphorus walks, and here are a few pictures from the last couple of walks.

Oh, and we got a cat … her name is Inci (means “pearl” in Turkish), and she is very, very lively and affectionate (not always at the same time!). She is between 3-4 months old, and she was found on the school grounds in bad shape: an infection, parasites, fleas, very skinny, I’m sure she would not have survived. She spent about three weeks at a local vet (a very nice fellow Umit), and we brought her home about two weeks ago. We have really enjoyed having her around, even though she can be a terror. She sleeps on our bed every night, and is quite good.

Dale had a great trip to Canada, and survived taxi journeys to and from the Istanbul airport. Since she got back to Istanbul, she has been very busy with the school’s student outreach program …Hi it’s Dale here, I will tell you about this program in another blog, and wanted to say to the friends that I didn’t get a chance to see when I had a quick trip to Belleville to see family, I will definitely be in touch in the summer!

The weather has been unseasonably warm in November, but we have had a couple of cooler mornings, and these pictures show the view from our balcony when I get up for teaching (about 6:45 am).

 

I have run out of time … in my next blog I want to take you through a week of teaching. Until then, best wishes to everyone, and we will talk soon.

Terry

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