Friday Fave: Istanbul not Constantinople

Now that I have recovered from all of my dental work this week (verdict: yuck) and my I have my new fall blog design up and going (coding social media buttons while high on painkillers ... probably not my best idea), I have a special treat. For the first time in almost five years of blogging, The Engineer will be guest posting today. Why? Because he had a much more interesting week than mine - not to say that having a mole check at the dermatologist is not fascinating stuff. Take it away, M.

Merhaba, Team Skelley readers! I get to travel for my job on occasion, but last week was something very much out of the ordinary - I went to Turkey. That's right, Turkey the country, not the bird. Twenty-six hours and 6,400 miles away, it was the longest I had ever been away from home. It wasn't all work, though. I got to do a little sightseeing and have a few pictures of Asia Minor to give you a glimpse into my trip.

Let's start in the Levent Valley in the central part of the country, also known as "Turkey's Grand Canyon." The picture above is me standing in an observation terrace, 1000 feet above the valley floor. I'm standing on glass you can look through all the way to the bottom. There's something you'd never see when Katie is in charge of the blog.

(Editor's Note: Damn straight. Katie is terrified of heights. I break out in a sweat just looking at this photo.)

The walls of the valley are lined with caves. There's paintings and other archeological finds in them that show 10,000 years of continuous human habitation in the valley.

As I'm sure you know, it wouldn't be a Team Skelley post about a trip without including a look at the hotel room, especially the bathroom. (I like to take pictures of hotel rooms, we all know this.)

The hotel was a nice one, and I've got few complaints about it or the overall infrastructure of the parts of Turkey where I visited. I got by with a little Turkish, a little sign language, and ran into quite a few folks that spoke very good English.

Here's the obligatory bathroom shot.

(I have to admit, I did not envision his digs as being so swanky. I pictured an '80s-era Holiday Inn and boy, was I off base.)

I spent the last day of the trip in Istanbul. It was a fantastic cap to a very interesting week. The picture above shows the inside (currently undergoing a significant restoration) of the Hagia Sophia or "Holy Wisdom," first built in 360 AD and Istanbul's center of worship for over 1500 years. A Christian church for over a millennium, it was converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest in 1453. After WWI and Turkey's transformation to a secular Muslim society, it became a museum in 1935.

The outside grounds and architecture show both the Christian and Muslim influence that the city of Istanbul has seen throughout its history.

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, built between 1609 and 1616 by Sultan Ahmed I. It still functions as a mosque and madrassa today, but is also a popular tourist stop. There is a special visitor's entrance where, after women cover their hair and you remove your shoes, you are allowed to walk quietly through the mosque in a special section while others pray.

The inside is beautiful and you can quickly see where it gets its name.

It took me four connecting flights both to get to where I was going and back home again. I didn't have much time, but got to spend two or three hours at the airport in both Paris and Munich. Above is the long distance view of the Paris skyline from Charles De Gaulle Airport. 

It also wouldn't be a proper Team Skelley post without a little discussion on shopping. (Touche.)

Central shopping centers, or bazaars, in each Turkish town serve as the heart of the city and a gathering place for many. Small storefronts extend for multiple city blocks, with stores selling everything from gold and jewelry to groceries and even livestock. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul has over 3,000 stores under 61 covered streets and attracts over a quarter of a million people per day.

All in all a fantastic trip where a learned a great deal about Turkish customs and culture. I highly recommend it if you get a chance to go, just watch out for the Turkish rug dealers. I hope you enjoyed the guest post - we'll see if I'm allowed to do another one in the next five years.

Katie again: Considering yesterday's post was about hair brushes, I do believe that you have proven your worth as a guest poster, M. I warn you though, the job comes with zero pay and no benefits, other than the benefit of getting to sit across the kitchen table from me at dinner while I debate whether we should paint the master bedroom a light color or dark color, and proceed to list the pros and cons of each.

All joking aside, I am tremendously proud of my husband and the work he does, but am also very glad that he is home safe and sound. Being only 250 miles from the Syrian border was about 250 miles too close for my comfort.

Since he is my favorite person on the world, I am linking up today's post with:

Friday Favorites

Happy Weekend!


  1. Ha! I loved this! The comments back and forth were awesome. I'm glad Marc liked Istanbul, I loved it there!

    1. I was really off on what his hotel would look like - it was much more cosmopolitan than I envisioned!

  2. WOW, what a beautiful country. This was a great post! Oh and love the blog redesign!!

    1. Thanks girl! I am loving it too - and I also like that the colors are adjustable so I can change it up for holidays if I want. :D

  3. Sounds like a fun business trip! Great photos!

    1. Thank you, lady! We have to get together soon!


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