* As I type this I have only slept about 20 minutes in the past 36 hours, forgive me for typos and other lameness. *
We landed in Munich around 8:10AM, running on no sleep we decided to grab a cup of coffee (for me) and Kombucha (for Brian) at a coffee shop in the airport before our final leg to Turkey.
On the plane we got a chance to nap for about 20 minutes, giving us enough steam to make it through the stressors of customs and obtaining a taxi. Surprisingly, the customs situation wasn't too bad at all, but everything that happened after that was pretty frustrating. I'm fairly certain that wherever I go, drama follows, in some form or another.
I needed to contact our house in Istanbul to let him know that we had arrived and we were headed to the apartment. There were plenty of payphones around, but they were all in Turkish and I had no idea how to use it. You would think it would be pretty simple but neither Brian or I could figure it out. I asked 7, yes 7, people where to make a phone call before I actually made a phone call. The first thing I learned about people in Turkey is that they are really good at telling you to go somewhere else to ask for help. Unfortunately, I lost my temper after the 3rd person who failed to direct me in the correct location to place a phone call. And by lose my temper, I mean I stopped smiling and saying 'Thank You.' All I wanted to do was call my host and talk to him for .45 seconds and it took 20 minutes of wandering around the airport before I could do that. Ugh! We finally found a little cafe that advertised 'free wifi!'. I have an app on my phone that let's me place calls while using the wifi network WITHOUT using my data. Of course, the cafe wouldn't let us use their internet until we bought something. So, Brian bought a can of Coca-cola.. that cost $4!
Once I finally contacted our host, we hailed a taxi and told him the way. And by told him the way I mean we gave him our hosts phone number and HE told the taxi driver the way. The ride was quiet and a bit awkward as the man tried to make conversation in broken English while I had ZERO Turkish language knowledge to contribute to the conversation. There was a lot of smiling, laughing, nodding, and pointing at things. Basically, we just pretended to understand each other for a solid 30 minutes.
We reached our apartment, paid the taxi driver.. where he failed to give us change.. and put our bags in the apartment. Since we don't have much time to spend here, we didn't waste any by unpacking and all that jazz. We headed straight for the Grand Bazaar, one of the world's largest and oldest covered markets. On our way to the bazaar, an elderly man was trying to get us to come and eat in his restaurant. He was waving a pamphlet at us saying 'come in young couple, come eat, good view of the sea.' We kindly said 'No thank you, not now.' The man simply responded with 'Ok, I love you.' Uh.. that was fast! I thought we were at least supposed to go on a few dates before you profess your love to me! Needless to say, BHW and I were completely confused by his response.
The Grand Bazaar was packed with locals and tourists, all looking for a good deal. I went specifically to see the place, but to also purchase a headscarf so that I could be properly dressed when visiting the numerous mosques nearby. I think I semi made my mom proud with my haggling skills in the market. I found a scarf that I wanted to purchase and asked the man how much it was, he said 35TL (Turkish Liras). I said 'No way, I was looking for something more like 20TL.' He responds with 'Ok 25TL.' and then puts my scarf in a bag and shoves me out the door in such a hurry that I don't even have a chance to refuse his offer. Well, at least I didn't pay full price? I gotta work on the haggling.
After experiencing the super crowded bazaar, we stopped for a Donner at a little place run by a kind old man. We both got Donners and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. And yes, it was fresh, he made the juice right in front of us! On our way home we passed the same older man at the restaurant. He, once again, tried to lure us into his restaurant. After politely saying 'No thank you.' again, he responded with 'Ok, another time then. I love you.' Am I missing something here? Is this or isn't this the correct response in a situation like this? So confused!
We went back to the apartment and planned to shower and nap for a short bit before we went out again to explore some mosques. By the time we got back, we realized there wasn't enough time to relax before heading out again. So, we changed into some fresh clothes.. you know.. ones that we hadn't been wearing for the past 2 days.. and headed to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (or the Blue Mosque). It was GORGEOUS on the outside and completely breathtaking on the inside! The detail was astounding! We visited in between prayer times because they shut down the mosques for visitors at that time so that people can use them exclusively as their place of worship.
After we visited the Blue Mosque we attempted to go see the Basilica Cistern but, of course, they were closed. So we will save it until tomorrow. We decided we were completely gassed out anyways so we stopped at a corner market, grabbed some goodies to snack on for a cheap dinner, and went back to the apartment. On our way back I just couldn't stop talking about the sunset. Our apartment is right near the Aegean Sea so we quickly made our way down to the water to catch the last of the sun before it went to sleep for the night. When we got there we realized we still couldn't see the sun setting but we got an amazing view anyways! We had a crystal clear view of Asia, only separated by a bridge that you can walk over, lots of adorable stray cats lounging by the water, and a gang/herd/flock/group (??) of dolphins playing in the water! It was probably the most relaxing way to end our first evening on our honeymoon.
Now for some much needed and well deserved SLEEP!
At our wedding we had the guests vote on where they thought we should go for our honeymoon, and they voted Greece! So, 11 months later, we are finally making the journey! Turkey and Greece, here we come!