Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008 THE WALLS

On this wonderful Monday, we...walked...the walls. It was awesome!!!! We didn't just walk the walls actually, we walked, climbed, and essentially became on with the walls. Mom and dad, when we come to Istanbul again, inshaallah soon, we are going to walk these walls. With a camera :D

Anyways, we met at the Sirkesci train station to take the train to Yedikule. First we spent a lot of time there just going in and out of all the towers and everything. We saw the tower where they would place the prisoners and execute them if said prisoner was due for executio. We also saw the well where the soldiers would have thrown the bodies of decapitated prisoners. The body would go down this well where it would apparently wash out into the sea (proven? I have no idea...) and the head would be taken to the sultan. What happens to the head? Good question. No answer.

Here's Edward on one of the towers...
Here's a picture of five of us and what we did at the top of the Yedikule Dungeons...

They were all really happy that they were spelling "Turks" instead of "Americans" since that requires more people and is (obviously) more complicated to do. Edward looks like he's about to dive but he's actually an S so don't get confused :D

After that, we got out of Yedikule and kept on walking along the walls. At some point while walking, we came across this opening in the walls, and, of course, what do we do? We walk in to see where it leads us, and it led us to a point so high that we could pretty much see almost all of Istanbul. I don't have any pictures of the really high parts where we got up on the tower and placed ourselves among the little ramparts where the watchmen would be looking out from, but it was really fun and scary at the same time to be up there. Check out some of Emily's videos, they're hilarious and they give a really good sense of what it felt like to be up there.

We walked some more along the walls, and then we came upon this one part that had ancient Mayan ruins steps leading up, so again, what do we do? Climb them, of course! After climbing we came upon another tower, and went yp that, and just looked around at the view and at far we had come. We walked a lot that day. When I got up the next day my legs were pretty sore, but it was really fun so we just forgot about the pain.

The consensus among most of us about walking the walls was that climbing up was easy, but climbing down was hard. Because when you're climbing up, you're only concentrating on going up and what's going to greet you up there, but when you're climbing down, you realize that there's a hole on one side and a precipice on the other, so it's not even a choice. It's not that you're afraid all the time, but one wrong move pretty much does push you over the side and down. Just down. I still had the best time of my life :D The Mayan ruins especially were the best. Here they are...

After walking the walls, we got to a ferry station, but we were late for the ferry, so we took the bus back home. The Prof had organized a Turkish lesson for the other guys that evening, so before that started I went and bougt myself some kumpir. Oh, kumpir....Here's a picture...

The picture on the wall gives an idea of what this looks like, but nothing can tell you about hte taste unless you go and taste it, so I'm inviting everyone to come to Turkiye and check it out. This kumpir place is on Istiklal Caddesi, near Taksim Square. If you want to eat kumpir with a view, I'm totally fine with taking anyone to Ortakoy and having some kumpir there with an awesome view of the Bosphorus Bridge and the sea and everything else associated with a nice view.

So, what is kumpir you may ask? Let me tell you. Kumpir is this wonderful concoction consisting of a potato, butter, salt, cheese, and lots of salads and ketchup and mayonnaise if you so wish. They take a baked potato with its skin still on, cut it in half, put butter, salt, and cheese in the opening, and then stir the insides of the potato along with the ingredients just listed to make a wonderfully tasty base. After that gets done, there's a whole slew of salads displayed which you just point to and they put on the potato. Green olives, black olives, kisir (salad made from couscous, tomato, pepper, and a bit of wonderful), American/Russian salad (I'm not sure of the name anymore, I've heard it way too many times in different ways--it consists of peas, mayonnaise, macaroni, carrots, that type of stuff; it's delicious), yogurt salad, corn, and much more, and of course, ketchup and mayonnaise. I got most of the stuff I just listed, plus another salad, and took that back to the flat and ate it while the others had their Turkish lesson. It was delicious. I have officially fallen in love with kumpir. After eating my kumpir, I went home and seriously crashd onto my bed. Today was a very tiring day, but I had so much fun that I'm not complaining about anything.

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