Saturday, September 7, 2013

Istanbul

I'm currently watching the US Open men's semi-finals between Djokovic and Wawrinka who are on deuce #12 on the third game of their fifth set. It's making me go crazy -- all this whacking of the ball.   The game duration is now over 20 mins....

Meanwhile UVA is currently playing the Oregon Ducks. Oregon just scored their second of what I fear to be many touchdowns.

Oh good, someone finally won the tennis game.

Annnnd Oregon just scored their third touchdown.

Cool.

Anyway.... I have been meaning to post some pictures from my recent trip to Turkey. I went with my church to visit and encourage some of our sister churches there. While it's not wise to write too much here about the specific details of the trip, I can say that it was a phenomenal experience, and I would LOVE to tell you about it or mail you a letter I wrote about the trip. Let me know if you want one.

I didn't have too many expectations prior to going to Turkey. I was unfamiliar with the country, the people, the language, the food, the faith... you name it. But, I have come back home with a deep appreciation for the Turkish culture. The hauntingly beautiful call to prayer; the manti and iskender (two of my favorite Turkish dishes);  the pull between eastern traditionalism and western modernity that is palpably felt especially in Istanbul; the communal breaking of the fast each night (Ramadan ended while we were there); the deeply reverent pockets of Islam seen throughout different neighborhoods; the pride in one’s craftsmanship at the Grand Bazaar and street markets; the second century churches carved into cave walls in Cappadocia; the deep veneration for Ataturk - the founder of modern Turkey; the communal nature of ├žay, or black tea served in tulip-shaped glasses; the majesty of the Hagia Sophia seen from a ferry on the Bosphorus; the 80,000 mosques covering the landscape of the entire country  – all of these things are part of the vibrant Turkish culture that I now know and respect.

Here are a few pictures from Istanbul. I'll post some of Cappadocia and Ankara in the next post. Have a great weekend!

Hagia Sophia 
Sultan Ahmed Moque (Blue Mosque)

Ferry ride on the Bosphorus
Inside the Blue Mosque










Hagia Sophia with the Dream Team


Inside Hagia Sophia
Inside another mosque... the women weren't allowed on the carpet, but we didn't know that until afterwards.

Two of my faves, Maddie and Conor

Old city walls.... old as in 3rd Century old. 

Virgin and Child mosaic in the Hagia Sophia

Jesus. He's cool. 
Tiny Turkish coffee

A purdy street
Communal breaking of Ramadan one night in Taksim Square

Taksim Square, site of the anti-government protests in June
Adorable little gals

Genevieve and me

Lovely ladies - Lucy and Lisa. 
Fruit stand. Amazingly good 

Lucy's birthday on our first night in Turkey with kunefe and jet-lagged friends

Sunset over Istanbul







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