Saturday, July 18, 2009

wow, its been 9 days since i've last posted!!! there is so much/too much to try and i'm going to try to just go by pictures and hopefully cover my adventures over the past week through them!

okay, i'll start off the with greek orthodox patriarchate, the home and head of the greek orthodox religious community. we got to explore the greek orthodox church, and here is a pic of me and my roomie grace in the incredibly ornate church.

what i realize now was a big mistake is that i didnt take a good picture of the iconostasis in the church. after extensively studying the iconoclasm of the 8th and 9th century, and the role that churches like this played in defending icons, that pic really would have been appropriate. oh well! instead i got this picture of an important saint's his actual bones:

the image below is SUPPOSEDLY of jesus' flagellation column. doubt it!

and professor herbst giving a little sermon, hehe. anyways that sort of summed up our trip to the greek orthodox patriarchate! the guys were hoping the patriarch would be there so that they could ask for permission to go to mount athos, but unfortunately he had already left for the day! OH and professor herbst gave us these nifty icons as memorabilia! so each of us has a patron saint now, which we'll be bringing to our final exams next week, hahahaha.

after this adventure, we had a nice dinner back at the hotel, and then we got ready to watch HARRY POTTERRR!!! it was REALLY fun navigating our way to the cinema that halee, jeff, and chelsea had found last week. it was at the historia mall, which is this 4 story mall that reminded me of valley fair back home. the mall was a great break from the hustle and bustle kind of bartering that occurrs elsewhere in the city at the bazaars and with street merchants. i made my first significant clothing purchase of the trip in a pretty new maxi dress and some lightweight linen pants (the latter of these has proved REALLY useful in the humidity!)

and then finally: THE MOVIE! i won't spoil movie content/quality for anyone who hasnt seen it yet, but i HAVE to tell this story: halfway through the movie, the screen cuts to some random cartoon and i FLIP the hell out because i think something has gone wrong, and i'm like, really into the movie at this point. the lights go on, elevator music kicks in, and i am just freakin confused. since all of us are sitting in a cluster, we're quizzically looking at each other and exchanging confused sentiments, but everyone else just up and walks out of the theatre! apparently they do intermissions. lol, it took me long enough to figure out and i was just laughing through the whole thing afterwards.

when the movie finished, carline is the first to realize that its 11:40. we were told that the metro generally stops running at midnight, so we sort of freak out. we jam all 14 of us into this elevator with these 2 turkish guys, who found it pretty amusing. then we start literally running to the metro stop. we made it, which was great. but then jeff notes that this is the LATEST we have been out in the city, in our 2.5 weeks here. pathetic, really. i mean, its a real challenge to try and go out late and get the amount of sleep necessary to pull us through the day, the heat, the classes, everything. so we often crash early, but seriously after 2.5 weeks we hadn't been out past midnight?!

jeff and i decide we need to DO something about this! we pull mike, josh, sophia and bo-young along and head out to the water. we find a bit of a platform to sit around and just talk for a little while and absorb the night lights and peace of the halic, galata tower, and the bogazici in the distance. some pics from that night:

and finally we headed back. rested up and the next morning had another early start for our tour at topkapi palace (administrative center and home for the ottoman imperial court and fam). below, a pic of josh and jeff, outside of topkapi with the nw end of hagia sophia in the background.

we had actually ventured onto the palace grounds on our first day in town, but of course we saw a LOT more with our ticket. we got a quick peek at the imperial view of the bosphorus, and spent a lot of time in the palace harem.

i really found the harem sadly beautiful. it was sooo nice, so pretty and full of open spaces, high ceilings, gorgeous views of the city...i enjoyed it, of course. but while walking the grounds we also had to consider the irony of the place -- the 400-1000 women in the harem who had the ability to see the beauty of istanbul but not leave the grounds to experience it. after a good amount of sitting and contemplating all of this in the courtyard, it was time to go.

we then engaged in a long debate about whether or not to go to greece fo the weekend. ultimately we decided to stay here for the weekend -- i had a lot of things to take care of (finding housing for august-december, meeting up with some friends, homework, and much much more). we decided on days of work, evenings of FUN. our first evening we spent at bogazici.

i was so so happy to finally bring a big group of us to my school. i'm really proud of how beautiful and cool it is there, and i just want to show it to everyone!! we took a different bus, which dropped us off at a different entrace. we hiked up through the forest to get to south campus, and then we spent some time just hanging out on the grass. the campus was very alive -- tons of students just chillin, drinking cay, reading poetry, playing volleyball, and also a couple who was very clearly embracing summer love, lol. some pics from our excursion:

okay, i need to take off for the museum of turkish and islamic arts. more posts to come, but all out of chronological order!

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