A small bit of Hungary: Budapest (or, “yes, we made our flight!”)

So, the last blog post I mentioned that we may not make our flight to Hungary. It turns out that I may have accidentally forgotten that our flight was actually a half hour then stated during the negotiation phase of planning our waking time with Lindsay. This turned out to be a good thing as Iberia was a very confusing airport. There was an incredibly long line, and all of the displays above the checkin counters said things like “Web Check In” which was not applicable to us, or other things that didn’t apply to us. This is a confusing sentence. Basically we had baggage but it wasn’t clear which line we should wait in, so we ended up splitting up and Lindsay waited in the longest line (we assumed it was probably where all of the poor people had to wait) while I checked in using one of the not so fancy check in things. Anyway, we ended up having 20 or minutes once we got to our gate before we had to board, so it wasn’t really so bad. But, I think even if we disagreed about some of the other details here Lindsay and I would both agree that it was slightly stressful when we got into the airport, had an hour and a half or so, and were running around trying to figure out where to go, only to find out we had to wait in an insane line.

Anyway, we made it though, and we felt that Budapest was awesome. I honestly don’t feel like I can say much about Hungary in general because the reality is that we barely explored the Pest side of Budapest (who know there were two different parts of the city, Buda and Pest!).

We stayed in a super nice apartment/studio. I sadly don’t have any photos from the place, but it was warm (which was awesome and a nice change!), and had a great view of the city.

What did we do in the city.

Note that there are not a lot of photos from Hungary, sadly. So the coolest things, like the ruin bars, aren’t really well represented

We went to the Penny Market which was a cheap grocery store and bought muesli, coffee, various dairy products, and we ate them and cooked breakfast.
Here is some muesli that I accidentally ate with a ton of sour cream.
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We ate cabbage rolls (also I accidentally gave a 1000 percent tip accidentally). The cabbage rolls were not nearly as good as Lindsay’s grandmas (we both agree)
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We went to a few “ruin pubs” which are basically old awesome buildings that were converted to sweet bars with lots of interesting art. This part of Budapest (and other parts) basically felt like the wet dream of a person who loved Oakland. Here I am ordering a beer (and then Lindsay’s phone died)
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We went to one of the oldest public baths in Hungary certainly, possibly Europe. It was really beautiful, though sadly I can’t say it compares to anything that Japan or Korea has to offer. It was sort of like a crappier version of the jjimjilbang that we went to in Korea. Anyway, it was still pretty cool, and we had a “cabin” that we shared to change in. The baths were, in my opinion, hot, overcrowded, and very dirty feeling. Note that I’m not some fancy person who cares about clean stuff (I like to wash my pants once a month), but it just wasn’t a bath house type experience, it felt more like a tourist box to check although there were quite a few locals it seemed. Here is a crappy picture of our dressing cabin.
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The night after our SICK ruin pub/bar hopping experience (secret: it wasn’t that sick, I think we drank a total of two beers between us), we went on a craft brewing tour of the city. We ended up going to 5 pretty sweet little bars that either served their own beer, or other craft beers from other parts of the world. I was pretty shocked to find Anchor Christmas Ale on TAP in Budapest. Although I didn’t drink it, I had some beer from New Zealand, because I hadn’t before. It tasted like beer, FYI.
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I think you can read the Anchorsteam here
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A beer angel
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Our toothpaste from Japan finally gave up the ghost, which I’m still quite sad about. We replaced it with a different/new brand from Budapest, but this was my favourite toothpaste from the trip so far. The Japanese toothpaste had little things in it that I call (some other brand’s trademark I believe) the “scrubbing bubbles” which I liked to think helped with my developing tooth-rot.
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We got some new craft materials for Lindsay, and spent quite a bit of time searching for new boots for Lindsay (without any success). We drank some crappy wine that was less then 2 bucks a bottle. I woke up most mornings and programmed for 2 or 3 hours and made some progress on Phapi.

Finally, we just saw a bunch of beautiful old amazing buildings.
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And finally, we took another night bus (one of the worst yet!) to Munich!

Aegina Island and Nafplio (bonus: Lake Vouliagmeni)

Well, I just typed a blog post to tell all about Athens, but then I remembered that Lindsay already did that! So that was 30 minutes down the drain. This blog post will be much less exciting now because my life has taken such a terrible turn for the worst with this revelation!

While Lindsay was typing the last blog post, I was at a really, really awesome place called Lake Vouliagmeni. It’s a lake that maintains (according to google) a 24 C (75 F) temperature all year round. Sadly, I didn’t take any photos, but it’s a pretty magical place. Basically I took a bus South from Athens for ~1.5 hours, got off and walked 500 feet to this “resort” (which isn’t really a resort, though I bet in the summer it’s pretty fancy/happenin’). Keep in mind it’s relatively cold here, ~40 F, and I’m wearing 5 layers + hat + gloves. I paid my 10 euro (one of the more expensive things I’ve done on this trip) and put my stuff (bag, towel I brought, etc) at a table next to the water. If it was the summer, this would be where people were sitting out drinking wine, eating fancy foods, etc. But when I was there the tables were mostly empty. Anyway, I put my stuff down, stripped down to my trust Speedo, and jumped in the water!

The water, which I wish I had brought my gopro for, was beautiful, beautiful water. It’s brackish and there are a number of sea like creatures living in it (something similar to sea anemones?) in addition to these little man eating fish. I say man-eating fish, because they are man eating, but they only eat little bits of dead skin off your feet. It was like one of those fancy spas where the fish eat your dead skin, except it was in a very beautiful, clean, deep, crystal clear(ish) lake! But the fish were pretty awesome, and I have some serious (and slightly painful) calluses I’ve built up over the last 6 months or so, so it was actually pretty handy to have fish eat them for me. Also, this wasn’t a joke, there were literally 100+ little fish at a time.

But, the fish were not the coolest part. The coolest part was that I could swim out to a deeper area of the lake, and I was able to (sort of) do a bit of freediving practice. Quite honestly I had a chill at this point, so it was a bit tough for me to relax and really work on my breathing, but I was able to dive down to the bottom of the lake along a decent line to 35 or so feet, which was fun. I’ve been carrying a mask and snorkel with me for the past 6 months (through Canada, then through the rest of our trip) and this was the first time since Canada that I’ve had a reason to use the mask/snorkel.

Sadly I didn’t get any photos as I forgot my camera, but the lake’s website has a few photos, and Google image search has a bunch of photos that give a pretty good idea.

Anyway, the next day Lindsay and I left for Aegina Island. We took the metro down to the port in Athens, and then we took a ferry (the flying dolphin!) to the Aegina. It was a short trip really, only took us 40 minutes from the port to the Island.

Here is the town/port of Aegina near where we arrived from the ferry
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When we got to the island, we were quite honestly thrilled. Lindsay and I both really love the water, and an island happens to be surrounded by it. Beautiful water in fact. The island of Aegina is (especially during the winter) very slow and quiet. This has been the case most places we’ve been because it’s the winter and quite honestly most places we’ve been are a bit more comfortable during the summer. Swimming and sun bathing and that type of thing are what this island would be great for, sitting out on a hot summer day and drinking a (cheap!) beer. But during the winter things are likely just as beautiful, we’re just more likely to be looking for a warm coffee in a heated cafe (more difficult to find then you’d guess!). Anyway, I’m sending mixed messages here. Basically the island was beautiful, but felt a bit “dead” because it’s the low season. In the summer I guess many rich people in Athens come to Aegina to live, and many tourists come to enjoy the sun/water as it’s a quick day trip from Athens. But none of those people were there.

various photos of the beautiful water
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We stayed in an AirBnB apartment again, in the small town of Perdika. It’s about 15-20 minute drive by taxi/scooter. We were staying in a very cute/homey little studio apartment. It had a wood stove (which we were ironically too cold to use), a little propane stove for cooking, and a space heater for heat.

The road almost to the studio we stayed at in Perdika
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Our kitchen
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Lindsay cooking in the kitchen (recipe: mulled de la 2.98 for 1 liter wino rojo)
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Me drinking coffee (?) and eating something (maybe dinner? or some garbage sweet thing?)
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Our host brought me the night we arrived back into the marina (Aegina, the main town on the island) and she brought me to a friend who rents scooters. I rented a 80cc scooter (2 stroke though!) for 25 euro for three days. I can’t describe how happy I was about this, there is little I love more then riding around little beautiful islands on a scooter. The drive back from town to Perdika was something I hope I’ll remember because it was pretty magical. Cold, crisp, the sun setting, driving along the coast, passing a bunch of “cute” Greek fishing boats and various small harbors. etc. Very awesome.

Our scooter, parked at the studio
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This is from a different night on the island, but basically is what I saw while scootering back home
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Me with my trusty helmet about to set out home (except actually from the next day again, but let’s pretend)
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That night Lindz and I slept well, but the next day we went outside and it seemed that there was a hurricane. There wasn’t really, I don’t think, but it was incredibly windy and raining a bit and very very cold. This was a bit of a “yolo” decision, but we didn’t want to sit inside all day so we decided to brave the weather and ride the scooter back into town so we could go to a cafe and get some coffee and some groceries to make dinner with. Anyway, on the ride I had one eye closes the entire time, and the other eye was squinting. If you clothes one eye completely, and then squint the other so that your eye lashes nearly completely keep you from seeing, that’s how I was driving. The trick was to go fast enough so we didn’t have to drive in the miserable cold with ice rain stinging our faces for hours, but slow enough that we didn’t outright die. This picture is probably one of the best memories from the Greece trip, and is 100% out of the camera and with as far as I can tell pretty reasonable white balance.

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hella
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Anyway, the next few days we basically did the same thing, except with better weather. Still bone-chilling after 3 hours or so out exploring around the island (we drove around MOST of the circumference), but not so bad that I had to drive with my eyes shut. We drove around the island on the scooter, went to get food at grocery stores (yogurt, chocolate, bread filled with chocolate spread, eggs, sausage, beer and wine and ouzo), and got a gyro every once in a while. Then we’d walk around the town a bit, then head back to our place and cook dinner, research the next leg of our trip, and when the internet worked watch Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

exploring, etc
(imagine some of these places during the summer… they’d look the same, but there would be tons of people sun bathing in bathing suits, and we wouldn’t be wearing gloves)
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Lindsay being bad-ass (like Mac)
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Dead sea urchin decorated by the ocean for xmas
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The day we left Aegina we had to make our way down to Nafplio. As the crow flys our AirBnB place was only 60 kilometers-ish from our AirBnB place on the island, let me tell you, we did NOT travel as the crow flys. Instead we road the scooter back to Aegina port, then took a ferry back to Athens, then a bus to a larger bus station in the opposite part of Athens, then finally a 3 hour bus to Nafplio.

View of Nafplio from our guest house (I think..)
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Nafplio is apparently the original capital of Greece. I’ll save some time by telling you that Nafplio felt a lot like Aegina did in terms of being out of season, but it was just as beautiful if not more so. Well, probably less beautiful actually, but more of a fancy sort of old town feel. Lots of fancy stores, etc, but also beautiful beautiful water.

water and boats, fancy stores, etc
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On our first full day in Nafplio (actually we only really had one FULL day) Lindsay and I hiked up “999” stairs to Palamidi Castle. I use quotes because the claim of 999 stairs seems to be in question. Actually if I read the wikipedia article I could probably find out the actual number of stairs, but if I had to guess I’d guess 917 stairs. I counted 3 sets of 100 stairs, give or take, and that was far less then half of the stairs I’m guessing.

This is some of the castles and bastions (Ian, if you happen to read this, I can’t tell you how many times I thought of you on this day as every single little plaque thing that explained the history said “… something-something bastion was build in …”
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A thing in the water
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I guess the number of stairs don’t matter that much. The point is, we walked up this thing which gave us an awesome view of the city. The most important thing that we saw, from way up on this hill, was that in the beautiful water near our guest house (where we had talked about wishing it was summer so we could go swimming!) there were a number of people in the water, swimming! In the water! So we got up to the castle, explored a bit, took some pictures, then we raced our asses down those 999 or not stairs, ran back to our guest house, grabbed our swim suits and mask and snorkels, and went swimming!

Note that in this picture, I think that thing in the water is a person swimming!
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Here is another picture of a different person swimming in the same place!
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Let me tell you, for the second time, we really love the water. The water was so beautiful, very clear (I’m guessing 40-50 foot vis), and not all that cold. Thanks to Marc, I can tell you the water was 18 C, or ~64 F. The air was considerably colder (we passed a small pond that had ice on the surface while running to grab our swim stuff), but oh well. The sun was bright and warm. I found a octopus! And Lindsay found some fish!

This doesn’t really demonstrate how great the water was, but sort of I guess
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The before/after swimming location
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Bonus: after swimming Lindsay and I was going through the rocks on the beach (which reminded us a lot of a beach along Lake Superior in the UP) and we found something very similar (if not) agates! A bunch of them! I’m hoping to take them with me when we visit Nicola’s family so perhaps his Dad (or Mom!) can tell us if they are in fact agates.

After the swimming, I ate a bunch of baklava, and a bunch of different types of baklava. Note that “baklava” may not be the correct word, but if you saw what I was eating that’s probably what you’d call it.

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This is a bite Lindsay gave me that I was selfish and greedy and took a HUGE bite

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That pretty much brings us to today. Today we woke up and had breakfast (provided by our guest house), then we took the same bus we took down here back up to Athens. Then we took another few buses to the guy we are currently staying with (super nice guy named Chris). Now, we’re freeeezing in bed, typing this blog post and figuring out what time we need to leave to get to the airport. Lindsay thinks we’ll be fine leaving at 6AM, I would feel more comfortable leaving at 5:41AM. If the next blog post involves a “we missed our flight” then I guess we’ll know who was right.

So, tomorrow we go to the airport (ATH), and from there we fly to Budapest! Budapest for 7 days!

Athens, a Graffiti wonderland.

So, it turns out Athens is a graffiti wonderland, and it’s AWESOME. Literally every step of the way to the Acropolis and Acropolis museum was covered in graffiti. Of course, no pictures do it justice, but I can assure you, you would have thought it was awesome too. Every few minutes had me saying “Babe! Just one sec!” *snap* etc. which is why you’ll see him waiting for me in so many pictures….:)

BUT SERIOUSLY! LOOK AT THAT COLOR!

IMG_3438IMG_3413IMG_3426IMG_3428IMG_3398IMG_3406IMG_3435IMG_3430IMG_3414IMG_3421Even where there’s supposed to be NO color, there’s color.IMG_3423IMG_3439IMG_3415IMG_3417IMG_3416IMG_3452We had to walk straight up to get to the Acropolis museum (and to see the Parthenon) but it was well worth the climb. The museum was filled to the brim with pieces (4,000!) of every artifact found on the rock and on the feet of the Acropolis, from the Greek Bronze Age, to Roman and Byzantine Greece.  While wisps of info about Athena and Zeus and Hercules wafted around in my head before the exhibits, it was incredible to see just how ornate and modern people were in regards to their art, language and architecture. Pictures weren’t allowed inside the museum, but we found a great view of our next goal for the afternoon: climbing Mt. Lycabettus to get a 360 degree view of Athens. (View from museum)IMG_3455IMG_3446Sweat. Nature’s blush.IMG_3467IMG_3478IMG_3462IMG_3466

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On the hike down, we decided to get some more delicious gyros (only $2 Euro!) and enjoy the city square at sunset. As you can see, it was pretty glorious. Just 2 days in, Athens has FAR exceeded our expectations in regards to the UNBELIEVABLE food, genuine warmth from the citizens of Greece and overall history and beauty. Pretty stoked to be here.IMG_3461Great view of Parthenon from the square.IMG_3482

Cappadocia.

We had quite the Christmas! Hours after picking Nick up from the airport, we jumped on an overnight bus to CAPPADOCIA, a region about 10 hours south of Istanbul because our lovely families PLANNED A SURPRISE CHRISTMAS EXCURSION for us there. Who does that? Honestly? Our families, that’s who. Talk about an incredible time.

On the bus!

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After 3 connections, and a delayed flight – Nick shows us his “I’M READY FOR A NIGHT BUS” equipment.IMG_1473

IMG_3089We arrived at 7am and headed to “Azure Cave Suites” which happened to be the most incredible “hotel” ever. Our rooms were literally caves – and they were GORGEOUS. We had the most amazing breakfast (provided for free!) every morning, and homemade puddings, breads and sweet treats every night. The family running the place and their German Shepard puppy, Zeus, were absolutely the best ever. They literally roasted us chestnuts (over an open fire!) on Christmas eve, made us gingerbread men cookies and did everything they could to make us feel like family. On our last morning, they drove us back to the main section of town where we could catch our bus, and the woman explained her “business” this way: “every guest is a family member from all over the world that I am just having the opportunity to meet for the first time. It’s a celebration every day.” And, it truly felt like that every. day.IMG_1518

oh! Our place also served, LINDEN TEA, which just so happens to be my namesake tea!

Screenshot from 2015-01-03 13:16:37IMG_3214View from our roof top.IMG_3152Morning one, we rented four wheelers (thanks to Anthea and Brittany!). The company we rented through encouraged us to wear hair nets under our helmets…which Kev did proudly.

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And this was what we saw:

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Cappadocia is especially known for two things…1) exceptional natural wonders, in particular fairy chimneys  (pictured below) and 2) hot air balloons (which are a bit further down this post).

The rock formations have eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars which people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia carved into houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. Obviously now all are completely abandoned, but climbing through the tiny caves and crevices, higher and higher up these formations made for an awesome day of exploring.IMG_3132

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After, not surprisingly, we stopped for tea:

IMG_3147The next day we woke up early and went on a killer tour which included an underground city, a gorgeous hike in the basin of the “Grand Canyon” of Turkey, drank (more!) tea, river-side, explored more caves, fairy chimneys and monasteries and truly, just took in the beauty.IMG_3110IMG_3112IMG_3120IMG_3144IMG_3218IMG_3227Once we got up there, Kev was pretty scared of how high we were 🙂IMG_3237Which was kind of understandable 🙂IMG_3239IMG_3241IMG_3244IMG_3251IMG_3255IMG_3258IMG_3261IMG_3262IMG_3266IMG_3278IMG_3279IMG_3282Christmas morning, we woke up at 5:30 am to (FREEZE OUR BUTTS OFF) watch the sunrise and watch the famed hot air balloons take off. Sorry for the 6,000 balloon pictures, but it was honestly magic.IMG_3158IMG_3160IMG_3161IMG_316915991075439_ee2d44aeb0_kIMG_3173IMG_3176morning eyes, cold noses.IMG_3178IMG_3180IMG_3185IMG_3192IMG_3198IMG_3200IMG_3207IMG_1519Another day, we rented mountain bikes. The guys looked like this: magazine-worthy.IMG_1538Conferrng with phones as to geo-cache location.IMG_3379This is how I felt about it. (That picture does not do my grumpiness justice.) We were minutes from dropping the bikes back off for the day, so my spirits were higher than on other times 🙂 Drew, if you’re seeing this, I would NOT have made you proud!IMG_1539BUT, after biking up the insane hills, we had an opportunity to do some pretty killer geo-caching, explore MORE old cave-things and see some pretty spectacular sights, so in retrospect, I shouldn’t have complained quite as much as I did 🙂IMG_3310IMG_3306IMG_3311IMG_3312For instance, on our biking adventure, we happened across a sunset balloon take off! IMG_3315IMG_3324IMG_3330IMG_3333IMG_3333IMG_3340IMG_3342IMG_3343IMG_3344IMG_3348IMG_3352IMG_3354The boys with a close-up view.IMG_3359IMG_3360IMG_3365IMG_3367IMG_3368IMG_3374A few hours later: bike view to Mount Erciyes.IMG_1536All in all, Cappadocia was amazing. We were all so thankful we had a chance to visit! Thanks Mar and Kevin and Mom and Dad and Brittany and Anthea and Ezgi and Mike! It was a Christmas to remember! <3IMG_3385

ISTANBUL.

Having too much fun (again!) to think much about blogging – but here is Istanbul, Turkey in a nutshell.

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We were (and are!) beyond thankful to Ezgi and Mike (Kev’s childhood friend), who offered us their flat while we were in Turkey. Originally, we had planned to stop in and see them, as they live in Istanbul, but as luck would have it, they were both back in Grand Rapids (of all places!) for the holidays. Unbelievably, they offered their apartment to us during our stay – which turned out to be insane. The flat was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, Kevin continues to say probably the nicest apartment he has ever been in. Short of sleeping in all types of ridiculous accommodations after the last 6+ months, our time there offered us a reprieve we didn’t even know we needed so desperately. It was glorious – and we are (again!) beyond thankful. We met Ezgi’s wonderful sister Elif at their family’s cafe and she and her friend Pinar were unbelievably sweet, and short of driving us to the flat and showing us the ropes, they took amazing care of us. To have such warmth (especially over the holidays!) not to mention a clean, spacious BEAUTIFUL place to chill and relax was truly such a gift.

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The first day in Istanbul, we checked out the Basilica Cistern, which was this cavernous,  beautifully illuminated, cavernous cistern that was built in 532.  Apparently, there are hundreds of cisterns hidden under the streets of Istanbul, but only 2 are open to the public. The Basilica Cistern is the largest cistern in Istanbul and was constructed using 336 columns, and stored up to 100,000 tons of water which was delivered to the Byzantine emperors in the Great Palace. Up to 7,000 slaves were rumored to have built it.

We had to pay a “decent” amount (I think $10 each?!) to get in (the most of any attraction after the Taj Mahal (which of course we got in for free), but it was honestly pretty crazy. At the back, there were carved Medusa heads which no one knows for certain why they landed here, which was quite interesting in and of itself. Worth the money? We’re not 100% sure, but it was beyond beautiful, without question.
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Right across from the B.C. were a couple more famous attractions…the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya.

The craziest thing about Istanbul for us was the fact that mosques seemed to just pop out of NO WHERE. BEAUTIFUL, HUGE, ornate vessels of grandeur – just BOOM. There they are. The pictures below are of Aya Sofya….

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IMG_1410IMG_2999And even craizer, JUST across the street from THAT was the Blue Mosque (aka: Sultan Ahmed Mosque). Although I wish I could say otherwise, I did not get a great photo of the Blue Mosque (at least from the outside) – even though, in my opinion, it was MUCH cooler than Aya Sofya. But there were fountains, and people selling tea and loads of Muslims coming to pray (and tourists coming to gawk). It had quite the atmosphere.

IMG_2982Not surprisingly, they were very strict about the dress code, and offered free garments to ensure those entering the mosque were adequately covered. After removing our shoes, I was given a lovely light blue head scarf (giant piece of cotton cloth) which you can see in the goofy picture below.IMG_2992That said, it was honestly magnificent.IMG_2989No pictures can do it justice – it was just SO, so big. There were 20,000+ handmade iznik tiles covering the walls (appropriately giving the name “Blue Mosque”), over 200 stained glass windows…and yeah. The level of detail was just astounding.IMG_2988

IMG_2991And, as I said, right across the street from Aya Sofya. Pretty crazy, right?IMG_2996(In other news :)) Not surprising, we were pretty excited about the food. Kevin was stoked to try some baklava, but we both found it (surprisingly) tasted like a barn…which doesn’t sound like a great description – it was still quite delicious, but had a very distinct and pungent flavor that neither of us were used to.IMG_1380One night, we cruised around Taxism, which is known as the “Times Square of Turkey”. That description was pretty funny to both of us, although it did have a great energy and a LOT of people shopping and enjoying winter festivities…Down a little alley though, we came across a church that was totally decked out of the holidays. It was my first European church! and I was pretty happy with it 🙂IMG_1390IMG_1391(In other news (again)) The Turks loved their tea (cay). I don’t think I could even come close to counting how many glasses we drank while there…I loved that they came in cute, tiny little glass cups (perfect for hand warming) with miniature spoons and a single sugar cube. Even though I refuse to put sugar in my tea (thanks Mom!), it still added a perfect tone to the tea drinking 🙂IMG_3023One night we met up with Elif, Ezgi’s sister, and her friends in Beyoğlu and had an awesome night.IMG_3029IMG_3032Thankfully, we had a few perfectly spring-like days before the weather turned, and one day we headed to Ortakoy, which was this beautiful sea-side haven. We spent a decent amount of time just enjoying the water and watching endless jellyfish float by. IMG_3053IMG_3061Kevin also got pooped on seconds after this shot.IMG_3047IMG_3072

IMG_3014IMG_3038Turns out, the skyline at sunset was pretty insane.

The other amazing thing about Istanbul was the “Call to Prayer”. Five times a day (based on the position of the sun, etc) all mosques would “call”/sing to the people of Istanbul from loud speakers, welcoming them to their mosque to pray. Given the sheer number of mosques (3,113!!!!) and the fact that Istanbul is conveniently situated on so many waterways, during these times of day – magic happened. These eerie echos would literally masque whatever noise the hustle and bustle of the city might present and your ears would be filled with the rumble of the endless trilling cacophony of the Call to Prayer.IMG_3007

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Turkish coffee (while literally as thick as mud), always came with a tiny glass of water and Turkish Delight. It really made me want to read The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe again…IMG_1413Breakfast of kut borek. Mike gave us a recommendation to go check out this little place near their flat which was owned by the sweetest old man, his wife and son. Even though they spoke no English whatsoever, we had the most wonderful time “talking” with them on a few mornings. One of the highlights of our time in Turkey, for sure.IMG_1454And, just a few days into Istanbul, it was time to get Nick from the Airport!IMG_3085

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Turkey, part 2: Cappadocia coming soon.