Saturday, January 5, 2013

Istanbul Day 2 - Falling in Love with Lots of Kittens

Hey folks,

I know, I know I took forever to update this blog but on second thought, I guess that probably nobody noticed because you’ve all been busy enjoying the holidays and your break from uni or work. I, for myself, returned to Germany for my winter break and so far, I had a blast seeing my friends and my family again. Oh, and happy belated New Year to all of you – 2013 will be amazing, I can feel it in my 21-year-old bones.

So, Istanbul… I took so many pictures and although it has almost been a month since I’m back I still feel the need to share them with you. On our second day, we attended two lectures at Boğaziçi Üniversitesi that were held just for our little group of 13 (including Norbert). First, we took a pretty long time getting there, as we had to cross over to the other side of the city. Istanbul is split up by the Golden Horn and the Bosporus and we stayed right by the historical sights while the university we visited is on the other side by the Galata Tower. As we got there, we were immediately rewarded with the most amazing view over the Bosporus, which simply took my breath away although it was a cloudy day. Also, we met the first of many lovely cats – since this was our first day in the city, we didn’t know yet that in Istanbul, there are stray cats and dogs everywhere. Most of them are pretty well fed (by the local shop and restaurant owners) and I’m pretty sure they also slept in many of the shop’s basements. But at Boğaziçi, the cats were so tame and cute, it was a joy! As soon as you sat down somewhere, they would just jump in your lap, cuddle up and fall asleep right there. I have to say, I was in fluffy kitty heaven.

At noon, we went on a little walk to the shore of the Bosporus and I even spotted a jelly fish in the clear water. We took in some more of the atmosphere of a Turkish tea parlor and I tasted some kiwi tea. Our lectures were really interesting: One was about Istanbul’s historical development throughout the Ottoman Empire, the second one about American writers living and writing in and about Istanbul, with a special focus on Ernest Hemingway. After that, we wanted to make our long way back to the hostel but unfortunately, we were trapped by pouring rain. We made it back somehow in the end, being stuck in traffic for a long time. At that point, most of the group was incredibly hungry but after some nice dinner and more apple tea, we could go to bed saying we’ve had a great day.

Thanks to all the lovely people who uploaded their photos somewhere – I hope you don’t mind I stole some of them, please let me know if you do!

Lots of love from Bad Oeynhausen (haha),

Waiting to leave in front of our hostel - Jade, Caitlyn, Chloe, Vicki, Jim and Milène.

Istanbul tram tokens

Hagia Sophia

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Close-up of the Hagia Sophia - the red parts are original Byzantine structures, the minaretts and grey structures were later added by the Ottomans to transform it into a mosque.

Breathing in Istanbul

The Sublime Porte

First view of the Bosporus from campus

Isn't she a beauty?

Vicki & the cat

Chris, the dog whisperer

Photo stolen from Chris :)

Lil' kitty just wouldn't let go (photo stolen from Chandni)

Again, stolen from Chandni

Lunch with the cats

Beautiful campus

Lectures are held here.

Norbert having a face-off with a cat. He won.

And all of a sudden, another cat crawled into my lap.

My cat loved Jade, too.
Small port by the university

Amazing villa overlooking the Bosporus including a small mosque.

Photo stolen from Chloe.

Jelly fish!

Photo - again - stolen from Chandni

Kiwi tea

Milène, Jade & Caitlyn.

Jade, Caitlyn & Chandni enjoying some cinnamon and sour cherry tea.

View over campus from one of the seminar rooms.

Great meal after a very long day.
The group hanging out in our favorite place right by the hostel (it's Chandni's photo again :))

Some of the floor was made of glass, revealing a view of some Byzantine ruins upon which the house was built.

We later took a tour through the basement - those are Byzantine structures, probably a palace.

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