Norwegian is slowly seeping into my mind again, covering up the English. Please excuse the downhill turn my language skills will soon be taking.
So, as this computer is officially too slow to be able to handle all the pictures I take, a quick overview of activities in Istanbul. Everywhere we went, the traffic was insane. INSANE. It seemed like every way I turned, someone was pushing me out of the way so I wouldn´t be run over by a taxi, bus, train, car, trolley, or motorcycle. Close encounters will all of these occurred pretty much constantly, as pedestrians definitely do NOT have the right of way in Turkey. And actually driving a car… I don’t think words can describe that level of chaos. (it was cool though, since I clearly wasn’t driving.) Like a constant obstacle course race, with no rules.
Days were pretty much packed full with incredible sightseeing opportunities that never ended. One memorable day involved first a HUGE Turkish breakfast with the entire family, then a car, boat, and train into the city, visiting the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, an underground-water-thing whose name I forget, eating food from street vendors, walking through a huge and very famous park that was once a palace garden, stopping for Turkish coffee overlooking the sea, sneaking through the backdoor of Istanbul University so I could see the inside (it was built in the 1400s), seeing the equivalent of the University bookstore (unsurprisingly, all street vendors as well, but with textbooks), going to the very confusing and maze-like Grand Bazaar, meeting a man who had sold a scarf to Laura Bush, having something confusing and Turkish for dinner at a popular student restaurant for the University, spending 3 or 4 hours on a couch drinking Turkish tea and playing chess and backgammon (which I will never understand), more trains and taxis and we attended a Turkish karaoke night with lots of Nazli´s friends, and afterwards, going out for Turkish tea at another cafe, before taking a shared taxi back to Nazli´s university, where we stayed the night. All in one day.
The amazing thing about that city is that it never stops moving. At 10.oo, the streets are packed with people, and the same at 13.oo and 16.oo. Around 20.00, one starts expecting things to settle down a little, but if anything, there are even MORE people. At 23.00, you still have to carefully maneuver through the huge crowds. At 03.00, masses of people still wander the streets, making their ways to cafes and restaurants. It`s insane.
What´s also surprising is the amount of security they have. When entering universities, shopping malls, boats, famous buildings, hotels, etc, you are first and foremost greeted by an armed guard and a metal detector. Nazli and I rode a bus that was stopped and every passenger´s ID checked for possible terrorist group association. I suppose it works quite well.
Anyway, the entire trip so far has been 100% problem-free and absolutely delightful. I’m invited back to Istanbul for summer holidays sometime.
Germany looks exactly like it should. Wolfenbüttel is the perfect postcard town with ancient buildings and narrow cobblestone streets. People sell bratwurst and beer everywhere. It’s classic! Yesterday I walked into the city and miraculously found Henrike’s school (built out of an old castle, very cool) and had art class and English. Everyone looks so typical German. Picture perfect town, really. And the Jägermeister headquarters, as promised, truly are here. Really, it seems somewhat unlikely. I sat in the backseat while she had a driving lesson, the instructor asked confused, “what kind of English is THAT??” haha.
I was going to go for a run this morning, but there´s freezing rain and wind outside… I´m just not too sure. Oh, we talked to Charlotte last night, we´re going to visit her on Saturday. Excited excited!