September 5, 2012 : Istanbul Day 1 : Arrival

We left Geneva very early this morning. Our flight left at 7:00 AM so we were up and ready to leave by 4:45 AM. Because of the early morning, we saw the sunrise. The view from the plane was just amazing. I couldn’t resist so I posted quite a few of the same photos of clouds dancing around the mountains. Pictures does not justice to how beautiful the sight was. 

Upon arrival, we headed toward our hotel: The Golden Horn Hotel. The official tour will be tomorrow so I will have more photos of the city then. Below is a bracelet our tour guide gave us as a gift. It is of the ‘Evil Eye’.
Included are a few random photos I took from the bus as we headed toward the hotel.

Below is the lobby of the hotel – pretty amazing!

The ceiling!
Our first drink in Turkey given to us by the hotel: a fruit juice.

Turkey facts:
The currency here is one Turkey Lira being about 1.90 USD. The tour guide advice us not to drink the tap water, in addition to using bottled water to brush our teeth. To use public bathroom, we could be expected to pay one lira, and to bring toilet paper.

There are 15 million people in Istanbul. 3% of the whole continent is Europe and the rest is Asia. 1 of 5 people in turkey lives in Istanbul.

Below is an image of what the money here looks like.

We headed out to a late lunch at a place around the corner called something along the line of Come Enjoy Pub. While we were making our way down, a commotion from another shop startled us. A man came running down from the second floor of the outdoor restaurant carrying a knife while another man was holding another back. It was very scary! But we made it to our destination just fine. 
Everyone in the group got one!
My lunch: Chicken kebab causing 12 lira and a water bottle causing 2 lira.
Free Apple Tea. It tastes like apple juice – not as strong as apple cider.
We guess that Apple Tea must be a sign of friendliness because when we went to a small supermarket to purchase water bottles, the shop owner invited us to go drink free Apple Tea in the morning.
Part of the restaurant. 

My room:

View from my room.

The hotel is really nice but the rooms are small. We live in triples here, it’s crazy!

There are also a lot of people in this city and the men here are not afraid to give out cat calls. The culture is completely new and strange and honestly, sometimes I feel very unsafe here…but it should be fine! We will be with our group most of the time. 

I will confess that I miss Geneva. I brought along my Swiss chocolate and it made me very happy. I still can’t believe that I’m here though – still so surreal!

Excited for our tour tomorrow but exhausted because I only had one hour nap in the last 24 hours. Going to bed!

Goodnight,
♥ Thao 

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