last bit of istanbul

on our last morning in istanbul, we visited suleymaniye mosque, and it turned out to be our favourite of all the mosques we saw in turkey. it stands high on a hill overlooking the city and it is so huge and majestic.

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^^ love, love the courtyard and the entryway. such beautiful symmetry and details. ^^
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^^ and love, love those striped arches. ^^
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^^ there is also a gorgeous burial ground sprinkles with bright purple irises on the grounds outside the mosque. ^^

we had our last turkish meal on the top floor of a restaurant overlooking the blue mosque and the hagia sophia. we sat right by the open window and thoroughly enjoyed.


before we left istanbul, we went to church! it felt soooo good to be there, having missed formal church meetings during our time in china and nepal (we still tried to retain sabbath observance and had some “church meetings” together with just the two of us, but it’s certainly not quite the same as being in church!). in istanbul, we met in this little building on the outskirts of the city with other members of our church, and the meetings were translated from turkish to english or vis versa depending on who was speaking. we were so impressed with the faith of the members we met in istanbul and we had a fantastic time worshipping with them before we headed to the airport. we did so many neat things on our trip around the world, but i really think my very most favourite thing was attending church in different places.


and then we were off to south africa!


the golden horn and the bosporus


our second day in istanbul was when we really fell for that city. it is the most spectacular mediterranean/asian/ european fusion and is a metropolis full of life from past and present.

after our return trip to the grand bazaar, we walked down to the golden horn to buy tickets for a ferry cruise along the bosporus (the body of water that separates asia from europe).  it was such a gorgeous day!

^^ the boy waiting in line to buy us donner kebabs for lunch while i snapped photos ^^

while we waited for our ferry to be open for boarding, we stopped in the mosque that was right across the street. again, so beautiful and peaceful. i love the hanging lights in all the mosques.


and then we got on the boat and sailed between two continents for a couple of hours. the sights were just glorious. the ride was relaxing. we were very happy.

^^ the bridge that spans the bosporus ^^

after our boat ride, we walked across the galata bridge and up the hill to the galata tower. we actually met up with a blog reader, which was so fun! she was the sweetest and we thoroughly enjoyed trying pistachio magnum bars and exploring the streets around galata tower with her. 

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^^ fresh squeezed orange and pomegranate juice stations on many corners! so pretty, right?! ^^
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we went to the galata konak cafe for dinner. this was one of the best decisions of our entire around the world trip, and our time there is one of our favourite memories together. the cafe is on a rooftop terrace, and we lucked out and got the best seat in the house right on the edge. the views across the golden horn and down the bosporus were ridiculous and could not be captured in pictures (my camera battery was also dying so i got some blurry ones as i tried to take them quickly!). but in my mind’s eye i can still see these vistas crystal clear, because it was one of those perfect nights when the air is dewy with magic.


we walked back to our hostel as the sky was turning from sapphire to navy, and we ate some delicious turkish ice cream, and it was just a perfect end to a really lovely istanbul day.

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