Friday, June 25, 2010
2 Weeks in Istanbul
Hey, everyone! I'm a little late for the blog, but I think I will catch up! lol
So it's basically been almost 2 weeks now since I arrived in Istanbul. I'm living in Koc University's dorm, which is probably more like a 3 star hotel. They even come like 2 times a week and clean up our room, which is pretty cool. I'm living in the West Campus, which is like 3-5 minutes bus ride from the Main Campus and there's a shuttle service there. Both campuses are located 10 minutes away from the Sariyer district of Istanbul, which is located 40 to 90 minutes bus or subway ride from the center of Istanbul depending on how bad the traffic is. In terms of internship, I'm helping Koc with the accreditation, which is coming like in 1 month or so. I'm almost done with it and looking forward to some more interesting stuff, maybe somehow related to economics or business.
Thus far, I've been to the center Istanbul only once, but it definitely was an amazing experience. My roommate Peter, another UM kid, who came 2 weeks before showed me around there. We went to Taksim, which is the very heart of Istanbul, from where you can basically get bus or sub anywhere. There are hundreds of little cafes, restaurants and shops, which are all located along the traditional small and cozy Istanbul streets. From Taksim we went to the Old City of Istanbul, where Ayasofya, Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Grand Bazaar, etc are located. As we wandered around, I was amazed at how many ancient ruins just lying around this city has. Last weekend we (me, Peter, Zhewei, UM kid too) went to Fethiye, which is like Antalya or Bodrum, but I think is even better, although I've never been to either of the two. We took 2 days off and stayed there 4 days, and every day we did sth really cool. For example, on the first day we went to Tlos, ancient ruins initially inhabited by Lycians, but which also has been used by Hittites, Greeks, Byzantines and Ottomans. I liked it a lot! Then we went to Sakli Kent, which from Turkish means Secret City. On the 2nd day we went to Kayakoy, an old village inhabited by Ottoman Greeks, who left it during population exchanges between the Ottoman Empire and Greece in the beginning of the 2oth century. So this city is basically hundreds of empty stone houses, which looks pretty scary if you go there at night. From there we hiked 8 km to Oludeniz (Dead Sea) through the pine forest and mountains and got lost there 3 times, but it was all fun. LOL On the 3rd day we went on the 12 Island tour, which was one of the coolest things we've done in Fethiye. Boat did 5 stops, 4 islands and 1 cave. We jumped out of the boat and swam to the caves, amazing experience. On the last day we went to Kabak and from there did 30 minutes hike down from the mountains to a remote beach. It was probably perfect end of our trip to Fethiye.
This weekend, we're going to Edirne, Ottoman Empire's old capital and one of the most beautiful cities in Turkey. It's located in Thrace right on the border with Bulgaria, so it must be a slightly different culture than inland Anatolia. There's going to be a festival and 700 years old Oil Wrestling competition. So it must be cool!
I will make another post after Edirne, so look forward for that!