Friday, March 16, 2007

greetings from Istanbul

We arrived safely in Istanbul last night. We met up with our friend Ron at the Frankfurt airport, flew to Istanbul and caught a taxi to go from the airport in Europe to our hotel in Asia.

By the time we crossed the Bosphorus the sun had set and the bridge and a hundred mosques were lit by floodlights. We moved into our hotel and set out to have our first Turkish meal.
We started with a tasty sort of burrito/sandwich called a durum… lamb, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce wrapped in a tortilla. I thought I would try the mysterious white drink called ayran, because you never know when culinary bravery will reward you with a new favorite food or beverage.

Ayran turns out to be a thick white drink made with sour yogurt and salt. It’s not a favorite. But you should still try it when you come, you might like it, who knows?

We rewarded ourselves with some excellent pistachio baklava. Before we figured out how to ask for our check, our friend Dave showed up. Dave used to live here so he took us on a little walking tour of the neighborhood (called Kodikoy). There are 2.5 million people in the neighborhood here.

Dave says that although Istanbul is called the “City of a thousand mosques” that he thinks a more accurate name would be “the city of a thousand churches with mosques built on top of them”. I thought that was interesting.

We also learned about the heavy influence of Turkish culture on C.S. Lewis (“Aslan” means “lion” for instance). By 11.30 we were tired, so we headed for bed.

We woke up this morning to a breakfast of fresh cheeses, various olives, raisins, and pizza. Krista and I went off and took some pictures this morning, and in a little bit we’ll take the ferry across to the European side of the city and go to the Grand Bazaar.

We’ll post again soon and keep you all in the loop!