Today is our 5th day in Turkey. We got up very early and set up at 7:26.
It was a long and tiring day, we stayed on the bus most of the time. Bus stopped every two hours, and everybody was sleeping.
At 12:00, we stopped and had some delicious and authentic Turkish food.
At 14:00, we stopped at the ruins of Troy and looked around. Our tour guide led us walk around with professional and detailed commentary. We saw how Trojan defend their land through the specific designation of the city wall. Ancient people were also intelligent at that time, especially on constructing defense.
After sightseeing the Ruins of Troy, we had a 3-hour car journey to the hotel.
This hotel is better than last one. Rooms are cleaner and have better equipment.
Today was kind of normal compare to other days in the trip, we spent 80% of time on the bus. Everybody is energetic after a long sleep on the bus. We are ready for tomorrow! Love this country!
Today was the 4th day of Turkey trip and it was the last day of staying Istanbul, though we will come back to Istanbul at the end of the Turkey trip. We left the hotel at 9 just like yesterday. We visited the Topkapi Palace Museum first, which is located right next to the Blue Mosque that we visited yesterday. Our tour guide handed us ticket for the museum and gave us simple information about the palace. Palace represented the center of the government and covered by water. It was consisted of 4 main gates, 4 courtyards and a Harem. Each courtyard represented different hierarchy. As the courtyard placed in deeper portion of the palace, it was more important and higher place. As we entered into the museum, we could see enormous gates with great gorgeous decorations, which showed us how great the palace is. First courtyard looked very peaceful. But from second gate, constructions began more complicated. Our tour guide told us that only people related with palace were allow to enter from second gate. Also, people used to cut off the head of people who against the palace and hang those on the second gate, so that people could notice how bad against the palace was. In the second courtyard there was a tower of justice, which people believed that they could see all the world on the top of the tower. The third gate was covered by gold color mark, which presents the power of the government. Our guide told us that Turkish government was stronger than Europe government because every power of Turkey focused on the king whereas Europe divided their power to the noble. There were four rooms in third courtyard for protecting all the treasure and gold. We could see beautiful and big diamond, daggers and gold in there. Fourth courtyard was the most beautiful courtyard out of those four. We could see the ocean and the Istanbul city at the fourth courtyard, could also see the beautiful circumcision rooms covered with rare specimens of Ottoman tiles. These rooms were for high governors to debate about laws and other political issues. Also, the tiles meant that they were influenced by Far-eastern ceramics. There were many things that we have never experienced before. The palace was very good chance to feel the Turkish culture.
Next, we moved to the Taksim, a place for shopping. It was very different from the area that our hotel is located. Many people, foods and shops were there. We got 2 hours of free time. It was one of the best free times that we’ve got.
After Taksim, we went to the Grand Bazaar market. It was very similar with Spice Market that we went yesterday. But it was bigger and more crowded. Many people from each shop tried to approach us with fun jokes and different language to attract us. I think that is part of the Turkish culture, which is good and friendly.
It’s only fourth day of the Turkey trip, but it feels like we already stayed in Turkey for a week. As time goes, we can feel the culture of the Turkey. Every single moment with my friends in the Turkey is so valuable and unforgettable! I can’t wait another days in Turkey.
Today is the third day of the trip, the second day in Turkey and actually the first day we visit the amazing country. After having a Turkish breakfast at hotel, we began our sightseeing with a drive along the Golden Horn, which is a waterway that separates Istanbul into Asian part and European part.
The first place we visit was the hippodrome, that symbolizes that Constantinople was the capital of the ‘new Roman Empire’ like Rome. Then we went to the Blue Mosque, which is a impressive building with six minarets used for men gathering together to pray every Friday noon. It was the first time for all girls to put on headscarves. After that, we walked to the Hagia Sofia, once used as a church then a mosque and a museum nowadays. It was made of thousands of well-cut marbles about 2500 years ago. All of us were amazed by the magnificent architecture and the wisdom of ancient people.
In the afternoon, we walked to the Spice Market and had free time there. We found innumerable kinds of spices, Turkish delights and colorful local customs. For both of us, we went into a café and had a Turkish afternoon tea with Turkish coffee, traditional black tea and rice pudding. Many of others bought a lot of souvenirs for friends and families. We all enjoyed the wonderful weather and the exciting tour today : )
Lucy Wu and Ziqing Song
We began our journey around 10:20 am on February 24th on a bus to the JFK Airport. At the airport we witnessed a large group of Orthodox Jews praying before our flight to the Frankfurt Airport in Germany. We barely got any sleep during the seven hour flight to Germany even though we tried. We spent the layover hunting for food, drinking coffee and playing card games. By that time we were very anxious to arrive into Istanbul, Turkey. When we did arrive we surprisingly went quickly through passport control and after that we got our luggage and met up with our tour guide Suleyman. On our way to the hotel we passed by the ancient wall of Constantinople, the Sea of Marmara and we saw the Hagia Sophia in a distance. Luckily our hotel is located near the Blue Mosque and surrounded by lots of stores, markets, etc. By the time we got our room assignments the time changes started catching up to us. When we got situated in our rooms we spent the next three hours trying to stay awake so we could get acclimated to the time difference. Around 6:30 pm we went downstairs to have a buffet dinner as a conclusion of our two days of travel.
Kendall Scala and Jhané Gibson