Our journey to Nepal began with a day in Istanbul, beautifully extended layover thanks to a canceled flight. Flying with Turkish air was such a treat- we were served Turkish delight upon boarding and I loved settling into the 11 hour flight. We arrived in Turkey around 5 on Thursday the 12th and had a team dinner, playing the onion game to get to know everyone, and a chill evening at our hotel. The city is beautiful.
The next morning, Friday the 13th, most of us woken at 4:30 by jetlag and the sound of prayer across our hotel.
We ask Sarah, our team leader, if she knows where we're going on the tour. "I do," she responds. We leave the mystery at that and stare out the windows as the driver plays Papaoutai and I'm jamming to my favorite Stromae song- none of the other teammates know him. Perhaps French pop is more of a DC/DPE thing.
Driving through the city, I began seeing English words around Istanbul in the mix of Turkish and realizing they probably weren't even English to begin with. Thinking about the ways languages borrow words and cultures share ideas and traditions makes me think of where they all came from to begin with. I also admired how all the roadways were lined with perfectly landscaped flower displays and fountains. Everything was beautiful.
Our tour took us along the water and to the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the Hippodrome. It was so incredible seeing all these buildings and areas with such long and rich cultural and religious history. The art and architecture was stunning. My team all remarked how awesome it would be to have seen the Hagia Sophia as an active place of worship, not only as a museum selling souvenirs.
After the tour, we visited a carpet store and were served delicious apple tea and given the whole pitch. Our salesman was hilarious and all the carpets were incredibly beautiful and soft. So much incredible artwork and craftsmanship. We walked through the grand bazaar before returning to our hotel for orientation and some great time to rest.
Although it was short, I'm so so glad I got to spend the time I did in Turkey. It was a great transition step for all of us before coming to Nepal. We flew out Friday night and arrived at 6AM on Saturday, before a full day here in Kathmandu. I'll keep posting more adventures here soon! Much love.
Christian, feminist, idealist, wife, poet, abolitionist, dreamer, adventurer.