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Are you from Finland, or Sweden? (eight hours in Istanbul)

10 December, 2011

Right now, The Husband and I are reposing in one of Istanbul’s airport lounges, waiting for our flight to first Karachi and then Dhaka.

Our flight here was great, and coming from someone who hates to fly, that says something.  We landed shortly before sunset, so we were treated to a beautiful sight while making our approach to IST.

painted sky over Istanbul

We had an eight hour layover in Istanbul and opted to spend the evening exploring the city.  Back in January, I was passing through Istanbul with a slightly shorter layover and was hesitant to go out of the airport and risk missing my flight, and today, we made up for that by walking all over a large section of the city.

After leaving the airport and hopping on the subway, we decided to explore the area around the Grand Bazaar.  While looking for somewhere to have dinner, the sunset adhan, or call to prayer, sounded.  The call to prayer is one of the things I missed the most about living in Morocco, so it was nice to stop and listen for a minute.

The behavior of shopkeepers and restaurateurs also brought back memories of my time in Morocco.  It’s been almost six months since I have had someone call out to me, trying to get me into their store or restaurant.  I simply donned my bitch face and ignored them all, but one guy, who called out “are you from Finland, or Sweden?” really cracked me up.

With no real destination in mind, we wandered around, sampling some amazingly delicious pomegranate juice and making friends with the street dogs of Istanbul who guard their turf, help people cross the street, and are tagged through their left ear.

at the juice stand

baklava bzzzzef

street dog crossing guard

street cat waiting for kebab

I’m happy I opted to leave the airport this time, and I’m looking forward to our trip back to Poland, when we have a slightly longer layover during daylight hours.

Turkish visa

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