Meeting In Turkey

  As the sun sets

During 7-11 of November the 5th Comenius meeting took place in the town of Sakarya in Turkey. I, Meril and Mr. Kutoglu had a wonderful time there. In my opinion one of the greatest moments of the trip was when we visited the famous city of Istanbul. The place, as well as the people, were amazing. We could see, hear, feel and taste every last square metre of the city.

On the clock we could clearly see the time. Just past eleven and the whole day belonged to us. After crossing from the continent of Asia to the continent of Europe on a ferry boat through the extraordinary  channel of Vosporos , none of us could hide our excitement .

To begin with, it was impossible for us not to visit the ancient roman baths in the centre of the city. Vast extensions of underground land were filled up with water. Upon them, wide corridors made up of stone. There was no light at all; this dark setting left a sense of mystery hanging in the air. In the very end we could see Medusa the mythical female monster who was turning people into rocks just by giving them a look. So old but so real at the same time.

After coming out from the baths, we had lunch. The meal included meat pie cooked in the  traditional   manner with salad and yoghurt sauce similar to the Greek gyros, but instead of pork we ate beef. Muslims never eat pork (it’s forbidden by their religion).  With the pie we drank the traditional yoghurt drink called airan. A quite strange taste I have to say but really enjoyable.

When everyone was done it was time we moved on and it was then when the well-known ancient church of Ayia Sophia rose in front of me. It used to be a symbol of the Christian religion for centuries. However, when the Ottoman Empire took over the control of the city the monument was turned into a mosque and stopped from being used as a Christian church. Nowadays it’s a museum. Right opposite Ayia Sophia the Blue Mosque stands proudly.  Thousands of pilgrims visit the Mosque every day. That particular Sunday wasn’t an exception. What an irony, the symbol of Christianity stands right opposite the symbol of the Muslim religion.

Then we had free time. My host Esra ,a friend of her Sena and myself had a walk around the town. Wherever you looked you could see the delicious traditional delights behind the shops’ windows, and the colours were so many that our eyes couldn’t take in all of them. A delirium of smells around us, we almost got dizzy from the thousands of smells which were entering our noses. Of course the best time was when we bought these delicacies and tasted them. The taste of strawberry, caramel, pistachio, and I don’t even know what else, flooded my mouth.

Our final stop was at Istanbul’s traditional bazaar of spices and tees. Millions of flavours found in one place all together. I was so amazed. People everywhere, you could barely walk through the only corridor of the bazaar. I can still hear the shopkeepers shouting, trying to promote their ware!

When we finally drifted to the boat we were all so tired but even more excited than we were when the day started! While crossing again the canal of Vosporos we were throwing the remaining from some bread-kind sweets we bought from the bazaar just before entering the ferry to the sea eagles. They were following us for the whole of the journey. As I was watching the lights of of Istanbul being reflected onto the water I knew one thing for sure, these lights will always be lit in our minds and they will always be reflected onto our souls.

Marita Anastasi

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