Istanbul Not Constantinople

12.21.11 Day 9
Well yesterday Taryn and I were out of commission. I felt extremely ill, and being the wonderful, caring sister she is (and by that I do mean heeding everyones advice to only travel in pairs) she stayed in with me. Today however we were out of here bright and early (and by that, yes, i do mean late enough to miss our free breakfast). So we made a mini detour to the Starbucks a crossed the street and my my was it delicious. Even more so since my veggie sandwich was warm instead of the traditional cold Turkish breakfast. After breakfast we headed off to the orphanage with our bags of goodies. The taxi driver had absolutely NO CLUE how to get to this place, so we spent a good portion of the morning driving all over Istanbul. He had to stop and ask so many people... seriously SO MANY... after the 9th person I stopped counting. Well we made it to the so called orphanage. If people tell you they are not nice, they are mistaken. This place was nicer than a hotel. We were let into the building and ushered into a mans office (he was on the phone), so Taryn and I sat silently and awkwardly staring at each other until he was off the phone. In the mean time, they had already served us tea. Well the guy got off the phone, but couldn't speak english, so another girl walked in... she didn't speak english either... so a guy walked in... he couldn't speak english either... you see where I'm going with this, right. All sorts of awkwardness what happening in this room and it was all I could do not to bust out laughing at the situation. Well here comes Grandmother Willow (no, that was not her real name... yes that is the name of the tree from Pocahontas). Of course the 80 some year old lady is the only one here who speaks english! Who would have guessed! Well she takes all the bags to her office, so we follow her there... and of course are offered 2 more glasses of tea. She then proceeds to go through all of the stuff we brought, categorize it, count it, and write a slip of paper with all the information she has acquired which she then signs, stamps, and makes me sign. Seems so official does it not?! Well it is at this point we realize we are not allowed to take any pictures of the kids or the building and it is looking doubtful that we will get to play with any of them. We also found out that the kids at this orphanage are between 7-15. Looks like they will not be needing like half of the stuff we brought! Sorry about the baby wipes, the 28 paint by number, the 10 plastic dinos, and the little capsules that you put water on to make them grow into some sort of animal. Yeah, I brought 28 of the paint by numbers, but only 4 bars of soap! Oh well maybe they will donate them to the orphanage that has the babies!!! Well after I officially signed the document that forced me to recognize the fact I had given them mostly useless paraphernalia, she gave us the grand tour. We got to see the sleeping quarters, the kitchen, the dining room, their music, art, drama, and study rooms. Along with their library and what next year will be their garden and play ground. Unfortunately... we did not get to play with the kids :(. Well we thanked Grandmother Willow and headed out to try to find a cab to take us back. I found a cab right at the corner! What luck!!! I showed him the card and opened the door to climb in when he said "NO". I backed out of the cab just in time for him to speed off... guess he didn't know how to get back? So Taryn and I started walking. We walked a couple blocks when we found some men our cab driver and stopped and asked directions from earlier... they were super helpful and got us back... well almost back... he took a couple wrong turns and ended up at a pedestrian street. The guy standing on the corner translated our cabbies message for him... "Um... unfortunately he cannot drive on this part... you must walk".  Strange, but we paid him and started walking... lucky for us it wasn't too far of a walk. The rest of the day was spent at the Basilica Cistern and the Spice Market where we picked up the last of our gifts. We stopped for some delicious calamari on the Galata Bridge and took pictures of all the people fishing. We headed back and on the way bought some corn and a pretzel bread thing (all for only $1.50 I might add) and then just had to try some of the chestnuts we had been passing for the last week. We also packed... which was SO SCARY. I do not want to get my bag weighed tomorrow!!! And then we just had to go to McDonalds and get the... wait for it.... wait for it.... McTurko! Thats right... the McTurko!!! Its kind of like a pita folded over with beef or chicken inside, lettuce, tomato, and some crazy Turkish sauce. I must say it was quite... interesting... but really good... I think I should have tried the beef one (the chicken tasted like some kind of sponge). We also bought an absurd amount of Turkish delight from our favorite place. They ended up throwing in a bunch of stuff for free and inviting us behind the counter to wear there hats and take photos!!! I think that means we are crazy-Americans-who-buy-too-many-sweets-but-they-love-us-for-it-because-they-get-all-of-our-money! I have decided since we have to leave the hotel at 2:30 AM, I should probably just stay up. Taryn is happily snoozing next to me already so hopefully I don't accidentally pass out!!! Oh my how horrid would that be!!!! I am also trying to figure out how to get through customs with 2 rugs, like 13 pillow cases, and 5 giant boxes of Turkish delight!!!! ANY SUGGESTIONS?!?!!? 

Stop 1...

Stop 2... (don't worry we will stop with this one... no need to endure that crazy amount of stops and turn arounds that we did :) )

random fish place Taryn decided to take a picture of and make me post

The Basilica Cistern

Taryn by the Medusa Head in the Basilica Cistern (note, she also has crazy hair)!!

Me outside the spice market



More Spices...

Oh and look... more spices...

Ah... still... more spices (I'm done promise) 

The fisherman on the Galata Bridge

Taryn with our delicious street food!!!

Don't you just want to sing "chestnuts roasting on an open fire"so badly after seeing these!?!!?!?

More street food... we didn't have this today, but we did have it the other day and it was delicious! (and these places are EVERYWHERE here)!

more street food!

Ha ha ha... more street food (we really like food) :)

This was us at our favorite sweets shop... they really love us can't you tell!!!!!!!

me... SO EXCITED for my McTurko experience to begin!

They have McDonald Jeans!!!! WHO KNEW!!!!!

This is just a beautiful picture off the Galata Bridge 

Street view after the rain. Isn't Istanbul just lovely!!!!

Ha ha Cat-on-a-bike... Taryn just couldn't resist!

Well folks, that is all for our travels here in Istanbul! We are so sad to be leaving, we were having so much fun! By this time tomorrow we should be home tucked all snuggly into our beds! Hope you have enjoyed the photos! Next ones to be posted will probably be Taryn's when she is in Phoenix... not quite as exotic as Istanbul, but I bet she will have some amazing pictures!!!

12.19.11 Day 7
Lets see... today we did some shopping, shopping, and oh more shopping! We needed to get some Christmas gifts and of course some more things we have had our eye on! here is a picture as a result of our shopping....

Yikes!!! This might not be good!!!
Our bags now weigh more than we do, so I have no clue how we are going to get all of this stuff home! Between the light, 2 rugs, like 10 pillow covers, and a myriad of random gifts, we have NO ROOM LEFT!!! We are probably going to have to bring all of our clothes back in our carry ons because we won't be able to fit them back in our bags!

This is the Blue Mosque. I know you are all probably tired of seeing it, but with the clouds it just looks so pretty!

Lunch... yes we got pizza... well I should say I did. Taryn got soup that tasted like gravy, so she had a slice of my pizza :)

Taryn thoroughly enjoying my pizza since the soup/ gravy was just gross

Blue Mosque after lunch. This is from the roof top of  the "Cozy Pub", the same place we took the night pictures here the night before. Well, the waiter we had last night wanted Taryn and I to go out with him and his friends after work last night... our compromise was to come back after lunch to take pictures on the roof... ha ha ha I don't know how we got by with that compromise! When we went back though he was working and wanted us to have drinks tonight... our compromise this time... we would eat dinner there tonight... that one totally worked. We are getting good at this!!!

roof picture of the Blue Mosque with me

Street view from the roof!

Taryn on the roof

I accidentally broke a piece of Taryn's camera off that you need to rewind the film... I'm SO SORRY TARYN!!!


So this is the "Testi Kebap" for 2. Taryn and I got the "mix" which has chicken, beef, and lamb in it.
To make:
1. own a clay pot like the one shown
2. put salt on a tray and place the pot with all the goodies on it
3. light it on fire (there must be something other than salt on it)
4. pour out half of the mixture
5. recover and place back on the fire
6. grab a towel, flip upside down and beat with a stick thing until the base brakes off
7. pour out the rest of the tasty goodness and enjoy!!!

I guess I won't be making this at home :)

Finished Product... It was so good!!!

So the majority of the day was spent at the Grand Bazaar looking for Christmas gifts. I got called "Baby Face" again, I guess the guy didn't get the hint that it wasn't working ha ha. The guys all recognized us so they wanted to know what we were doing and why we were there so much, I guess that means we have been there too many times :). Another guy we were buying stuff from wanted to take us out tonight too. We politely declined, but we did ask him if Turkish guys pick up lines ever worked on Turkish girls. He looked at me with a slight look of disgust and said "Turkish girls?! We don't want to go out with them"! ha ha ha. We also got asked if we were Russian and Australian. One guy told us he thought we were British because "British people just have that face". I have no clue what he meant by that, but the awesome thing is we rarely get asked if we are American. One guy said we looked like we were from the Middle East. The guessing game is just so fun!

Tomorrow we are going to go to the spice bazaar and the cistern. We have no clue how to get to the cistern but a guy tried to explain it to us... pretty much all we got is that it is sort of under a park... really helpful! Well like the old souls we are, we are off to bed (which if previous nights have taught us anything means several hours of tossing and turning and very little sleeping)! But it is worth a try!! Night!

12.18.11. Day 6.
Well today we went on another tour! Yay for tours! They are a great way to see a lot of things all in one day and learn fun facts! They are also a place where your patience gets tested, and ours did! And I believe our tour guides did too. To make a long story (all day story) short, there was Taye and I and three women and a child who came together in our group, and well they just liked to walk really slow and do the opposite of everything our tour guide said, poor guy. I would not like to have his job. He was very sweet though and we had a great time, minus the fact I got car sick and had to go back to the hotel. Not my finest moment, and not thrilled about it, but luckily Taye continued on the second half of the day and enjoyed all the new places! And we traveled to ASIA! Yeah! Afterwards we went to get dinner, our waiter was really nice and even gave us a free tour book and let us take pictures on the rooftop terrace, so pretty! Then we picked up some Turkish Delight for dessert and headed pack! Here are some pictures from the day! :D

Our first stop, the Dolmabahce Palace. It was the first European style house of a Sultan. Oh my goodness, it was huge! Painted with real gold, alabaster walls and tubs, crystal everything!, and incredibly beautiful! There were no pictures allowed inside, unfortunately, but I found some online to give you an idea!

Taye in front of the Dolmabahce Palace, and a nice swan fountain. I wonder how that would look in the middle of our drive way? Mom, Dad, what do you think? haha a little eccentric. 

This is one of the rooms in the Sultan's Palace. These chandeliers are EVERYWHERE! Including the biggest chandelier in Turkey! It was HUGE! Some fun facts about it:

-It weighs 4 1/2 TONS
-It had to be shipped over in pieces
-It took 6 months to reassemble
-It has 750 lights
-Its still used for important presidential meetings and banquets

So picture this one, only bigger, way bigger! I think she gave some other fact about it but I can't remember. They also have smaller versions as floor lamps, so cool!

Another photo of Dolmabahce Palace. Im pretty sure that glow from the lower right-hand corner is the biggest chandelier, all lit up! Must have been an important event!

The most Amazing staircase I've ever seen! It's called the Crystal Staircase, and for good reason, all the banisters are made of crystal! It was incredible!! And underneath the banisters there was intricately carved wood, beautiful. Oh if only Sultans were still alive today... and needed a Sultanness! 

Me outside one of the 26 entryways of the Palace. What a pretty view of the water! 

Our cool new kicks! We had to put little sacks over our feet before entering the Palace. They made our feet have little points, life Elf Shoes!! 

Taye on the bus ride over to ASIA!! 

Me on the Asian Side of Istanbul! This is supposed to be the prettiest Panoramic view from the Asian side, it might have been if it wasn't so foggy. It was still nice though. 

Taye on the Asian side! 

While we were there we were lucky enough to see a Bride and Groom! Our tour guide, Arif, said that Purple isn't a traditional color for a bride. White is the traditional color there too, but her hat means that she is religious and keeps her head covered. Isn't she beautiful! 

They made a wheelchair sign in the rocks! But Oh My! This was definitely not Wheelchair accessible! I almost twisted my ankle, fell forward from the steep hill, and rolled down instead of walked, not safe! The picture makes it look all peaceful and nice, 
but in reality this sidewalk = death! Or extreme pain. Or just an accident waiting to happen.

The best Panoramic view from the European side! Luckily a little less foggy! 

Back on the European side we took a cable car down from the Panoramic view to our bus. Can't say I felt too safe, but it was a short ride and we survived, so I guess it's alright. 

Our salad for lunch. The same weird carrots and pickled things, still not a huge fan.

Chicken Sish, honestly soo good! I was so upset because at this point I was not feeling good at all so I felt very wasteful, but from what I had it was delicious! 

After I went back to the hotel, Taye continued on and went to this cool Mosque. 

Another view of the Mosque, and another awesome chandelier!

Taye on her boat tour! As you can tell she stole my scarf! It's ok I wasn't using it anyways. :D

A beautiful house Taye saw along the river side. Future House? Um, yes please! 

The Spice Bazaar!! Yep they have cheesy pick up lines there too! And they want you to try all of their foods, that freaks me out. Just think about how many people have touched their food, no thank you. 

OHHHH Spices!!! So exciting!!

Our dinner menu! They had english ones! Or in this case British!! Even though the guy thought we were Russian, then asked if I had Arabic decent. I think people just guess crazy things! 

Taye's dinner! Chicken and Thyme! Delicious! And Lipton's Lemon Iced Tea, yum!

Still feeling a little sickly I wanted comfort food, the answer, Spaghetti Bolognese! Yum! Definitely not Turkish... oh well. 

The view from the terrace on top of the restaurant! So pretty! It was all rainy and wet but it was still nice!

Now for a special treat! Here is a photograph of some of the "services" you can get in Turkey at the Turkish Baths. Weird.

...or maybe Awkward! < Now reread that and sing it! > AWWWKKKWWWAARRRDDD!

That's all for today, we had a lot of fun but we are exhausted! Time for bed!

12.17.11. Day 5.
So, as you can tell we skipped a day. That's because of jet lag and the fact that we pretty much did nothing of interest yesterday. So we are going to skip along to today. Today we went to the Grand Bazaar! And Grand and Bazaar it was, what a proper name for it. Honestly, if you are having self-esteem issues and you are a female, go there and you will be boosted for life. All of the clerks mean well, so its all in good fun, but the things they come up with to say are just so funny! I think they google translate everything, so it kind of makes sense, but not 100%. Others though get their point across quite well. Here's an example:

Clerk: Hi, yes please (what they say when they mean "can I help you")
Me: No thanks (keep on walking)
Clerk: (Sounding concerned) Oh you dropped something!
Me: (Also concerned, thinking it was my money, turn around)
Clerk: (Standing with his hands over his chest with a saddened look on his face says) My heart.
Me: (walks away)... (laughing) 

One that we hope got lost in translation:

Well, a guy called Taye "baby face." We are not quite sure what he meant by it, but seeing as though Taye looks like she's 28, I think he meant to say something like "Doll Face." That's more accurate anyways. Otherwise it's just insulting, poor guy doesn't know he's insulting customers as they walk buy. Like I said, we will just call it lost in translation. 

So funny! But really Turkish Bazaar=Prozac! Taye and I had a great time shopping around for gifts and things for Taye's house! We found some pretty nice stuff for pretty good prices (I think being girls helped). After the Bazaar, which took up most of the day, we got some street food to eat, which was actually delicious! I will make sure to take a picture of their street food for you. They are basically all the same, gyros and pomegranate juice. Tonight we went to see the spinning dancers, which I thought were called Spinning Jarbus'. Man was I wrong! The correct name is Whirling Dervishes! I know so close, right? Thats what happens when your too tired to Google the correct terms and spellings. Well, that pretty much sums up the day! We don't have a ton of pictures because we felt weird taking them at the Bazaar and there were no pictures allowed at the show, but I hope you enjoy the few we have!

Breakfast Time! Turkish Pigs in a Blanket? (Kind of weird, but whats new) and Pancakes! With a strange, yet delicious, chocolate sauce!

A morning view from our hotel's rooftop where we eat breakfast. What a wonderful way to wake up!

View of the other direction! Across the bridge is ASIA!  Crazy, one city, two continents! 

I know, I know, Your asking "Haven't we already seen this picture?" Well, sort of. Same view, but different picture, I just couldn't resist! The clouds were just too amazing this morning!

Here's one of the hallways of the Grand Bazaar! Totally not what you were expecting? Where are the dirt paths? The donkeys? The tents and tables of a market place? Well, not here, obviously. The Grand Bazaar is actually really nice! It's more like a giant covered market/mall, only you can haggle! (Which we are slightly improving on) 
I think we probably have a big sign on our foreheads that says 
"STUPID AMERICANS!' Are you ready to make some money? Here we are!

Taye inside of the Grand Bazaar! Doesn't she look all patriotic with the flags behind her!... 
If only we were Turkish...

Us with one of our new friends! Mehmet! He was our first carpet guy! So sweet, you could tell he had a kind heart! He's even going to send us a Christmas Card! 
Mutlu Noeller! << Merry Christmas in Turkish!

Us with our other new friend Can. Isn't Can such a funny name? Like a Can of soda, or a Can of sardines. HA tricked you! His name is spelled Can, but is pronounced John! Strange right? 
He was also very nice, and he spoke English really well! He does business in the states with just some tiny people, and who? Oh, you know President/ ExPresident Bush! And only like 100 other senators and famous rich people! He makes house calls and brings in new rugs that you can switch out anytime. So if you are indecisive and want to change your wall color, but Oh No, now your rug doesn't match. No problem! He will exchange it for free! Well, unless you get  a way more expensive one of coarse. He has rugs that are over $140,000. Needless to say we didn't buy those. :D

Two of the bags we bought! Aren't they fun! Turkish Weekend Bags! Yeah Yeah!

Same Picture, change of focus. MMMMMMMM food! Our chicken gyros that we got on the street all wrapped and bundled in a tortilla, and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. They literally cut the pomegranate in half right in front of you and juice it! It tastes delicious! A little tart for Taye's taste bugs, but mine were certainly happy! 
Talk about a boost of antioxidants! 

Well, since we couldn't take pictures during the performance, I took one before. These were the whirling guys. The show was well... interesting. I pretty much wanted to fall asleep the whole time I won't lie. I blame them, if they wouldn't have the show at night with just soothing music and dim lights, the show might have had the chance to be slightly entertaining. But a half an hour of band music and then a half an hour of men just spinning around in circles, well it doesn't really do too much for me. Granted I couldn't spin around that long, I would definitely get sick, but it doesn't make for the best show. I think it was a "spiritual journey," so from that stand point it was interesting to watch a part of their culture, but next time I think we will go see the belly dancers, at least we will be able to stay awake. :D

Well thats all the news from today! Tomorrow we are going on a tour of the Spice Market and some other place, and a boat ride! Woohoo! Should be fun!

12.15.11. Day 3.
Today Taye and I decided to explore the city, and when I say "explore" I really mean "get lost." We started out with lunch from a restaurant down the main street. We made some new friends there who thoroughly enjoyed getting their pictures taken with Taye's polaroid camera. After lunch our "exploring" began with a hunt for a sweets shop. What started out as a hope of eating lots of sugar, ended after finding two Mosques, getting stuck in a dead end parking lot (where we did get yelled at, whoops), making one very large circle around the city, and still no sugar! When we finally found our way back we went to get our sugar fix (pictures below)! Yay for Turkish Delights! Who knew gummies could be so tasty! Tonight we are planning on going to The Orient House and enjoying a dinner and show. We won't be home until late though so I'm not sure if those pictures will be up tonight or tomorrow. Our sleep is still a little confused, so there are high hopes for it being tonight! Here are some photos from our days "explorations!"

Yay for Jet Lag! Check the bottom of the day for pictures and videos from our dinner show! Can't say we would go back but it was definitely an experience!

We had this delicious pita bread again! We are going to have to find out how they make it all fluffy and hallow!

Taye's lunch, some kind of chicken with what tasted like a cheese sauce on top! Mmmm!

My lunch, it was supposed to be vegetables with saffron sauce, but it kind of tasted like Taye's cheese sauce. I wasn't going to complain though because it was delicious! What a great way to get your vegetables! Covered with Cheese! Yeah!

One of our new friends! Along with his best friend (look closely above the bag)! Kitty!

Taye with the presents our new friends gave us! Little Evil Eyes (they are supposed to ward off jealous thoughts and feelings) with little dolphins underneath (I don't think they ward off anything, they're just cute.)

What was the best discovery of the day you might ask? Other than my awesome arrows on Photoshop? McDonalds delivers?!?! Guess who's getting room service! haha just kidding... maybe. 

Feet Washers. I'm not really sure why they wash their feet, I'm guessing it's a religious reason, but I'm not sure if its before or after they enter the Mosque, or both, or neither. As you can tell I'm not well informed of traditions, if I find out I'll let you know. 

Taye at one of the random Mosques that we found

Me at the same Mosque... obviously. :D

Inside the courtyard of the Mosque

Inside there were people praying. Their prayers are very active. They stand up, kneel, sit down, bow, repeat, over and over. I think there is some kind of timing too, but I'm not 100% sure. 

Some people walking down the street close to sunset. 
Their sunsets are just like Indiana's, they happen at like 4! 

This is the Sweets Shop we bought our goodies from last night!
 (The place that had all the pistachio nummies!)

This is the place where we bought our sweets for tonight! 

These were our desserts tonight! Again, official names are as follows:
Top Row (Left to Right): Shredded Chocolate and Pistachio Stacked Mousse Cake, Strawberry Mountain!
Bottom Row (Left to Right): Datey Raisony Pistachioy Powdered Sugar Taco, Rose flavored Turkish Delights, Regular Turkish Delights, and Coconut flavored Turkish Delights, Round Baklava tasting nest thing with a walnut inside, and lastly a Chocolate and Pistachio Baklava thingy. 
What was the best? By far the Rose flavored Turkish Delights!
The other things were so so, probably wouldn't buy them again,
 but since we got this for about 6, yes I repeat 6, American Dollars I think its alright!

Hopefully more pictures to come of our Dinner Show tonight!! 
^^ yay pictures from the dinner show! 

Our appetizer, some weird cheeses and spreads... and beans? kind of weird.

Salad with lemon dressing? And the Turkish version of an egg roll and a tater tot? It was like deep fried Mashed Potatoes, weird but good. 

Dinner, the first thing that wasn't weird, chicken with rice, veggies and apple cut potatoes.

The drummer that started out our show

Ok... well, apparently the computer has decided to take forever to upload videos. So, if we can get it to work we will upload some of the videos from tonight. Sorry for the short experience, sadly you weren't missing all that much. However, we did meet a girl who is staying in the same hotel as us from, where? Oh, America! What part? Oh, Indianapolis Indiana! Yeah! Crazy, I know! Super cool girl! Had so much fun with her at the dinner! One good thing that came out of the night, new friends!! Yay!

12.14.11. Day 2.
Well last night was quite the sleepless night. I was awake all night bored out of my mind and finally around 5 am Taryn whispers..."Taye... are you sleeping". We decided 5 was as good a time as any to watch TV, but to our utter dismay there is absolutely nothing on TV in English at that hour of the morning. We decided instead that my audiobooks of Adventures in Odyssey were the way to go. At around 6 we heard this weird and very loud chanting/ singing/ music. We think it might have been one of the five prayers from the mosques that they put on speaker.... it was... interesting. We finally got ourselves all ready, ate a Turkish breakfast (which I am still not sure how I feel about), went to the ATM, and then basically dragged ourselves downstairs to begin our walking tour at 8:45. We spent the whole day exploring famous sites and taking a ton of pictures...enjoy! P.S. Our guides name was Evrim which I think is so pretty and she was a great guide.

   A view from our hotel balcony as promised. This is the Blue Mosque.

Blue Mosque again

View 2 from the roof

    Taryn with the Hagia Sophia in the background... and a hazardously close seagull!!!

Me with the Blue Mosque in the Background

Taryn. Breakfast. Blue Mosque.

Me. Breakfast. Hagia Sophia.

Some delicious eggy pancake with carrots and broccoli... downside... it's served cold :(

The Blue Mosque

That's right, no shoes allowed!!

Hagia Sophia
This is from our roof, but so you get an idea of what the outside looks like

Inside Hagia Sophia. If you look closely you may be able to see the Christian Artwork along with the Muslim Artwork. Hagia Sophia, along with what seems like everything else in the city, used to be a church, but was then converted over into a Mosque. Now Hagia Sophia is just a museum, but they left up all the artwork. The black circles with funky writing (arabic, most likely) are the names of Mohammed and his family members.  



Salad. I didn't like it so much, but I think Taryn liked it

Chicken and Beef, again, Shis Kabobs don't have a stick here apparently. The rice in Turkey is beyond amazing though, I could eat it for every meal! (Also not pictured, Lentil soup. We squeezed lemon over the top which doesn't sound very good, but was delicious)

This was dessert... some form of mushy bread stuff. It tastes like they soaked it in honey water... needless to say Taryn and I found it... "interesting".

 The Grand Bazaar
This was quite an interesting experience. Taryn and I decided today was just going to be a "looking" day. Which means scouting out everything we like so we can go back at a later date! Well inside we got mistaken for French, Greek, and Spanish. Since I speak a little Greek I always find it thoroughly amusing when someone says yassou to us (Hello in Greek), you would be amazed how often we are mistaken for Greek. Also one guy at his booth looked like he was looking up lines to hit on girls because he checked his phone and said "have you been looking for me" and then when we didn't respond he quickly checked his phone. Another guy told us we could have free rugs and when we said "free?" he said "yes my brother and I are still single". Ha ha ha. And yet another guy said, "Welcome to my paradise, angels."Oh how these people crack me up. Taryn and I spent the majority of our time walking around laughing. Even if the people are a little forward, they are really sweet.

We randomly met these sweet little girls on the street (they were carrying around a scale and they wanted to weigh people and get paid). They were just so adorable so I asked if I could take a picture with  them and they willingly agreed.

Topkapi Palace

 Dinner: @ Faro
Delicious Pita with Olive Tapenade

Me: Chicken Curry... again... it was well worth the repeat though :)

Taryn: I believe hers was called the Harem Special. It was lamb with walnuts and pomegranate sauce... seriously so good!

We were given this compliments of the restaurant. It is Apple Tea and it is just so amazing. It is really sugary and tastes like warm apple juice but it kind of has that cool texture of dissolved jello (i know you all know what I am talking about. Don't act like you never tried the liquid jello after you microwaved it)!... so unusual texture... delicious hot beverage!

Well another day has flown by and since my energy levels are running on E I am going to hit the hay! Tomorrow should be another amazing day!!!

12.13.11. Day 1.
Today was our first day in Istanbul. After sleeping in way too long, we will blame it on the jet lag, we finally got up and went out to explore. We walked down the main street to see some of the iconic Turkish sites. Our hotel is only blocks away from Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque! It’s beautiful! There is also a great view from the top of our hotel (Pictures to come)! We also found a delicious sweets shop where we were mistaken for Greeks, but luckily the workers there also spoke some english. After buying way too many sweets we enjoyed (kind of enjoyed) some Turkish Tea and Coffee. Here are some photos from our first day!

The Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia

Doesn't this just make you want to sing Mary Poppins, "Toppins, Toppins!"

Taye trying to figure out how much we are supposed to tip, she never found it. 
Hopefully we left enough!

Taryn's dinner, lamb Sish Kabob's. 
Apparently, here Sish Kabob's don't actually include the Kabob part, a stick.

Taye's dinner, Chicken Curry, Delicious!!

Our Mediterranean Salad!

Our Turkish Tea and Coffee, and wonderful desserts!

Our Turkish Treats, from left to right:
(These names are the official names)
Pistachio Jelly things, Pistachio Marshmallows, Chocolate Marshmallow Swirls covered in Crunchy Chocolate yummies, Pistachio Milk thingies, and Mint Turkish Delights.
Lots of Pistachio, overall DELICIOUS!

So, upon suggestion we decided to try Turkish Coffee. Here is the progression of horribleness we had to endure. Needless to say, I don't think we will be ordering that again.

Lastly, we have something gross to show you. If you get grossed out easily I would not continue on. 

We were told that CHI Straighteners do not work overseas because it would blow the fuse, or something like that. Well, we plugged ours in, and no explosion, so we thought we were ok. Well, Taye decided to use the straightener, and still no explosion, but apparently Europe makes CHI's have heat overload which in fact fried Taye's hair, melted it, and made it fall out. It could have been worse. :D

EWWWW! Taye's hair now smells like Biolage and burnt perm. Yuck!