*I can't remember where my fascination with this edifice began... probably in some art history class. A cathedral/mosque/museum? YES PLEASE! Plus, it was the perfect dream to cling to because it seemed so unlikely. I never thought I'd have the chance to visit Istanbul in my lifetime. Looks like I need a new dream. I'm thinking Machu Picchu.
**Even though I had my first taste of sahlep in Cairo, it's really a Turkish beverage. Everywhere we went in Istanbul, you could order a steaming cup of sahlep and that's exactly what I did.
So it was destined that I end up on a plane to Istanbul where I could stroll around the greatest surviving example of Byzantine architecture while sipping on delicious hot beverages. But just because I was glad to be in Istanbul, doesn't mean I was ready to be in Istanbul.
I remember grilling one of the consulate employees who met us at the Istanbul airport about all things Turkey, What's the currency here? What's the public transportation like? Can you drink the water? Where exactly are we geographically? Basic questions that I could have answered myself if I had been given any notice or access to the internet, neither of which I had in Cairo.
Our first day in Istanbul looked a lot like this...
Here's an email I wrote to my dad and sister after Day 1:
Here's a photo of us looking pretty ragged and cold. At least our bellies were full of meat and Turkish delight. Let the touring begin...