Friday, July 27, 2012

A short story by Stephanie Hitchins.

Once upon a time, we woke one morning with the decision to go to the island right off of Istanbul. We set out with high hopes and great dreams of visiting this small island and all that it had to offer us on our adventure. We decided a boat was our easiest and more desirable form of travel and so we came aboard a boat in search of our goal.

On our way, we spotted beautiful views of Istanbul

And then we arrived across the way and realized that we needed to get onto another boat. That boat took us to another piece of land, but not the IsLAND. Then when we finally found the right location for where the correct boat was located, it was too late (or like hours earlier) for us to make it to the Island. So we made the best of our situation and took another boat for a tour! And we saw things like that tower we had seen previously the night before! Where all those drunks were!

A beautiful and very large Mosque...

Another really beautiful and large Mosque...

See all those Steeples? Those are all Mosques..

We saw a grand view of the Topkapi Palace. ( We will visit there tomorrow). It is the lonnnng building looking thing on the right. And more Mosques on the left..

John took a nap on the boat...

 We saw this tower that is placed out on the water like a mini island. There was a Sultan who was told that his daughter was going to die very soon. He feared her death and wanted to protect her so he built this tower out on the water so no one and nothing could get to her. One day she was delivered her normal food in a basket and there was a poisonous snake in the basket. So she ended up dying anyway.   Kind of a sad story, but an awesome piece of architecture.

Once we made it to land, we went and saw the park area where Ayse played as a little girl. Her father would bring her here while there was bazaar's going on and she really enjoyed that time with him and the memory of it. It was neat to see how happy it made her to be there.

Then we walked home... on our usual walk...

Even though we never made it to the Island, we ended up having a fantastic day with 4 boat tours and seeing some really awesome places in a more grander view! We loved it! The end.

Late nights and Taksim

We sat home one day and rested our weary feet and bodies. Around 11:00 pm, Pops up from the couch and says, "Let's go to Taksim!" We didn't question, just quickly got up and took a Taksi (taxi) to Taksim! It sounded fun, why ask questions when it sounds fun??

Taksim is a central area of Istanbul. It is constantly full of people, food, and shopping. It was so fun to go that late at night! We didn't get home until 2 am! We just walked and walked and walked. We people watched, saw street performers, ate some McDonald's. It was so nice to just walk and observe. We felt like we were apart of the turkish culture. This is what locals do, we were totally locals! 

I didn't take many photos. In fact- only 3. haha But Enjoy...

An old watch tower. Everyone that hung out around it were totally drunk! They were singing and dancing, it was awesome!

Oh yeah, this was a high school. For serious. This was just the entrance. Amazing right??

I am going to miss taksim when we go back to Rexburg. I will miss the freedom of no matter what hour, there is always something to do there!

Bodrum Castle: a castle in Bodrum

So while we were in Bodrum, we went and visited The Castle. I didn't learn the name of it (you do self tours here) and so I just leaned over to Ayse and asked, "what's the name of the castle in Bodrum?" and she responded, "Bodrum Castle"... Good thing it wasn't too hard to spell!

Anyway, we had a blast going. Since we did our own tour, we made a great time of it! This Castle is centuries old and contains so many old old old things. It was often a place of territory declared by different countries. There is the French tower, English tower... other towers ( I can't remember them, I am so bad!) So we visited them. A lot of things displayed had an explanation next to them in English, so we were very grateful to them for this. haha

Here, come along with us on the tour of the Bodrum Castle!

The entrance. And John looking handsome as always!

The stairs up to the castle. (Left and in blue and white stripes: Ross and next to him on the right is Ayse's dear friend: Sedat)

Okay. now the Real entrance...

Oh wait, let's get distracted by the beautiful view...

Yup, I think this is a good spot to take a facebook photo.

Once in the entrance there was a huge display of Amphoras to look at. Amophoras are how they distributed and transfered by boat liquids way back when. Check out this one, it is from 14th Century B.C. HELLO! That is SO OLD!

They are still finding Amphoras today at the bottom of the Aegean Coast and in the Marmaris Sea. Here are more of them... there was sooo many! I was in love with them!

John found his buddy..

Also, He didn't realize he had forgotten his body back in the 14th century.. good thing we found it! Congrats to him! He is no longer Headless!

I may or may not have tried on his body...

I believe the English tower.

Here are some more ceramic items that had been used way back in all those centuries ago... (Don't judge, I don't know dates! I just know they are super old)

A closer look in this case. These are real oil lamps. Like the ones used in the parable of 10 Virgins. I thought it was interesting about how we are counseled to always have enough oil in our lamps. I never really thought about the size of the lamps. These are about the size of the palm of my hand. I realized how important it is to continue doing things to "keep our lamps filled with oil". I loved seeing them in real life. I felt like I connected with a peace of scripture in a more tangible way. It was awesome.

Oh yeah, this view needs a photo too.

In Bodrum, all the houses and apartments are required to be painted white. It looks amazing. I love that they do this. In a way, it reminded me of what I have seen in movies and photos of Greece. Even though we aren't making it to Greece, it was like we were there in a way.

Sedat. He is a happy man. I really really enjoyed his company.

This boat was in the most perfect position. Right in between this spy area. It framed it well.

OH! I found my body! It was a little smaller than I remember it being..

Here are the toilets of the castle. No joke, they still look like this. People still use them like this...

Oh yeah, no shame in going to the bathroom while people watch.

Watch how strong John has become!!!

TA DA!!!!!!! For real, it was heavy...

The waters are so blue and sooo beautiful.

Thanks for coming on the tour with us! We had a blast and hope you did too!


I've decided to go back in time a little. I was too excited to blog about the turkish wedding that we had that I left a few things behind in my wake of excitement over the wedding. 

After the sailing trip, we immediately hoped on a 3 hour bus ride to Bodrum from Marmaris. This was such an awful experience. It was sooo hot on the bus. No words can describe the amount of sweat that excreted from our bodies. The air was on high but it was as if we were being tortured with the sound of the air on high but nothing would come out from the vents. It was the WORST. We tried desperately to sleep through it, but I would keep waking up from a tickle of a drip of sweat on my skin. John's entire shirt was drenched... let it be known, we have never in our lives needed a shower so badly. BUT- there was a light at the end of the dark, dark, dark tunnel we were in... the name of that light was Bodrum.

Bodrum was not what any of us had anticipated. It had been years since Ayse and Ross had been. I believe John was a child when they had been there last. So our expectations were slim due to our experience on the way there and then the fact that we had been on a boat for 7 days. At this point, anything was better than the current state we were in. So when we arrived to the hotel (Otel), it was.. wait for it... Better than christmas morning. Yes, that good. Take a looky loo for yourself... 

The Entrance.... Just put yourself in our shoes really quick... remember, sweaty- hot, tired, exhausted, been on a boat for 7 days...need showers ASAP, sticky... hot... did I mention sweaty??.. and then we walk into this...Better known as a little heaven on earth..

This was very common thing to be found on the streets and sidewalks in Bodrum. This is an Evil Eye and is very cherished here in Turkey. It is believed that if an evil eye is present in a room, car, on a boat, on the ground... wherever, it is believed that it will ward off evil thoughts or feelings that someone may have as they come into contact with that person that owns said room, car, boat, or ground. It is a simple gesture of kindness and desire for a person to receive luck and success in life, to avoid people who are negative and wish negative things upon people. I have really come to love it. It is everywhere here. EVERYWHERE. Especially in Bodrum in the streets, mixed in with the cobble stones.

There is a peek of the pool.

The view...

The view from the pool.

Our room entrance..

The view right outside our door...

Then right across the street from our otel was this historical site called "Antik Tiyatro" (Antique theatre if you were a little unsure of that one). Before we went across to visit, we met two fellow heaven on earth dwellers (other hotel guests) and they came with us. They are an indian couple (from India) and they have been married two years. The husband was an endodontist and his wife was a pediatric dentist. They were our age. Really, really smart people and we were happy they were so successful. Anyway, it was fun to go with another young couple and see this site and take some pictures. There is a photo of them at the end..

View also across from the antique theatre.

Look closely in this photo- that is a castle... next post will be about our visit there.

Here is the nice couple we got to hang with for an hour or so. So sweet! We're facebook friends now!

We loved Bodrum. The hotel was everything we needed to be happy there but then there was the going down into the downtown area that added even more greatness to our experience. It was loud, and there was partying way late into the night... Definitely would go there again!