The drive into Istanbul was hectic and we were glad to find this spot
Bundled up and ready to explore the city the next morning.
Looks like an early soccer game at our camp spot today.
Greeted by a cat as soon as we leave our camp spot. We didn’t realize that Istanbul is known for its cat population. Later that day we actually watched a documentary all about it called Kedi.
How American are we? Lol. Sometimes you just crave the taste of home… even though it didn’t really taste like home but we will take what we can get.
Instead of sitting down with our textbooks, we walked miles and miles around the city of Istanbul the last couple days. We removed our shoes and covered our hair to enter our first mosque, The Blue Mosque.
The color turquoise is named after Turkey and is prominent in the Blue Mosque.
Our shoes being held in bags while inside.
When we exited the mosque, a friendly man invited us to his rug shop to look at rugs. No pressure he said. We tried to explain our lifestyle but it didn’t take. Dan was really interested in the experience so we agreed.
He insisted he takes a family photo of us.
Stray dog snugglebugs.
Drinking apple tea at the rug shop.
Keeping themselves entertained while the shop keeper pulls out all different types of rugs handmade in Turkey.
We really tried our best to turn down his original offer but he wouldnt take no for an offer. And he didn’t understand that we literally live in a van and don’t have floor space for anything.
Once he finally accepted that we really weren’t buying anything, he looked sad and we parted ways. Not much tourism this time of year to fill his shop.
We called this shenanigan ice cream.
Mila didn’t want to deal with tricks associated with cone orders so she ordered a cup. Hah.
Our cat Yoda passed away the day after we all arrived in Europe and since that moment we promised to keep her memory alive by feeding stray cats (and dogs) on our journey. But it finally happened. We are officially out of the cat kibble that we brought overseas from California. So what will we do now? Well, I’m guessing we will buy kibble from the store and keep our new tradition going forever because I don’t want the #malimishkibblesfromyoda to ever stop.
Some of these cats were invited in. Some were not.
Hey cat! Off of our Dometic portable toilet!!
Oh geez, cat.
Spent a couple days relaxing and catching up on work and school.
The owners son and Luka got along great. Random sign language and grunts were all they needed.
The girls were occupied by the the you know whats. Meow.
Once we felt rested, we had another day out in the city. Next up we explored the Grand Bazaar.
And then we got to taste our first ever Turkish Delights.
Look how pretty.
We also got to meet up with a new friend that follows us from Instagram. She is a local and spent the day showing us cool spots in town that we would have otherwise missed.
Fish sandwiches from the river boats.
Visited another mosque while we walked around. And of course pet more cats.
Then we climbed up past its cemetery.
And a tram ride up the hill. Luka was really scared at first because it is his first tram.
But within in seconds he was really enjoying himself.
They all were.
Even when they realized we were flying over grave sites.
The view from the top.
Our new friends. SO thankful they reached out and showed us around. It’s always best to see places from a local’s perspective.
More apple tea for everyone.
We opted to walk back down the hill through the cemetery in the dark.
Luka decided to run down and tumbled. When we tumbled, he didn’t stop for a bit because it was down hill. He’s fine. We all cracked up. Even him.
Tomorrow the kids will record their memories into their journals and pick up where they left off on math but my hope is that will never forget what they felt today. New experiences are nothing to be scared of and kind people are everywhere.
Dan is not done with his VLOG yet so in the meantime here are my Instagram stories to hear and see the sounds of Istanbul.
Thanks for following along on our trek thru Europe and this dip into Asia,