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Istanbul Greeted Me With a Kiss on the Cheek

By Sierra Firley

I’ve been flipping through my journal to figure out how to capture my Turkey experience. Thinking of different ways to write, or how to make it rhyme, and how to make it stick to the hearts of those reading this, but I keep coming up for gasps of air empty handed. It’s difficult for me, I think, because I am a changed person. I will do my best to write accurately and genuinely and just hope that Turkey can explain its majesty for itself.

The first week of my trip was mesmerizing. We hit all of the Istanbul destinations, including Taksim Square, the Grand Bazaar, and the Hagia Sophia mosque. I swear, by the end of that first week I had eaten enough falafel to last a lifetime. My favorite “firsts” in Turkey were baklava, Turkish tea, the little store outside of our apartment where we bought sunflower seeds every day to eat after dinner, and the juice. Pomegranate juice was at my every step, and not from the janky pomegranates at Hannaford that are wrinkled, no, no, no. This pomegranate juice was so sweet, and the person cut and pressed it right in front of me. All for three lira.

The first week was so significant in my trip, because every step I took was the “first” and I could not get enough. It did get frustrating, when going to the Grand Bazaar or other local shops only to be heckled by persistent street vendors. I looked different than most people in Turkey, and a lot of people noticed me and asked me where I was from. My first week in Istanbul was truly magical. I have attached a few pictures below that hopefully will capture some of Istanbul’s finest treasures. I was greeted to one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a kiss on the cheek.

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