Title: A Magical Retreat
Abstract: Picture wild horses running down the street and watching the sunset on a beautiful island: sounds like a fairy tale, right? Beautiful places in the world are within your reach. My day on the Prince’s Island was like a dream and I didn’t want to wake up!
Introduction: Field trips are fun, but field trips when you are abroad are even better. My program directors took our group on a daylong retreat to one of the Prince’s Islands outside of Istanbul. It was an adventure because we were dropped off on the island without a map and told to go out and explore! Just like that! The island isn’t too big but it was neat asking locals for directions and chatting with other wanderers on the island. In order to get there, we took a ferry from the port in Istanbul called Kabatas. The ferry ride was sunny and wonderful with great views of the city. The day was a dream come true!
Local Time: 12pm on Saturday May 18, 2013
Time Zone: Eastern European Time (EET)
Location (Latitude, Longitude): 42° N and 27 ° E; Burgazada Island is located in the Sea of Marmara
How far did I travel this week? I traveled for about 10 hours total this week throughout the city of Istanbul.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? I have traveled over 1,000 miles on my journey.
How did I get around this week? I traveled by bus, subway, taxi and a water taxi. I also rode in a horse-drawn carriage!
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? This weekend we visited the Island of Burgazada. It is an island located about an hour outside of Istanbul by way of water ferry. It was interesting because the island does not have any cars so people get around with bikes, motorcycles, or horse! Also the architecture on the island was both old and beautiful.
Other travel news: The water ferry to the island of Burgazada was very crowded on Saturday. Tons of people looking to leave the crowds of the city tried to squeeze on this ferry for a day’s long island getaway. It only costs 2TL to take a ferry to any of the three islands, a very affordable vacation! We sat on the top deck soaking in the sun and enjoying the breeze off of the water. On our way to the island the ferry passes the Maiden’s Tower. The Maiden’s Tower is famous because legend has it that a Sultan locked his daughter in the top of the tower to protect her from danger. Many other legends surround the ancient city of Istanbul.
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 3
What is the air temperature right now? It is about 60 degrees outside.
How was the weather this week? The weather was cloudy and rainy at the beginning of the week, but by the time Thursday rolled around, the sun began to peak out. Saturday the weather was in the 80s and perfectly sunny.
What animals did I see this week? I saw lizards on the rocks and jellyfish in the water! On land, we saw a lot of brown and white horses that the islanders use to transport people around the island.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? I watched the color of the sunset change with the passing minute on the Sea of Marmara. I have never seen the sun cast such a beautiful color on water before.
Other Nature News: We had a chance to talk in small groups on the island. A lot of us are leaving to return to the United States soon because our semester abroad is almost over. We picked out a really nice spot on the rocks right next to the splashing waves of the ocean. All of a sudden, a huge wave came up and splashed all of us! As if that surprise wasn’t enough, a small lizard jumped out of nowhere onto my friend Mike. We all screamed with laughter at the sight! None of us knew that these little lizards crawled around on the rocks and were very surprised when they crawled a little too close.
What languages are spoken here? Turkish
What type of money is used here? I use the Turkish Lira and kurus, the Turkish coin
How much does a bottle of water cost? 1 bottle costs 1 Lira
What was the best meal this week? I had a delicious meal of mezes. Mezes are appetizers but are usually ordered in groups of five or six. The mezes I ate included red peppers, eggplant in a tomato sauce, fish soaked in lemon juice, and asparagus! They were served both hot and cold and followed by a main course of sizzling vegetables. Yum!
What music did I listen to this week? Tarkan is a famous Turkish pop star who came to my University this week for our annual Spring Fest! His concert was so much fun and he played hits like his song, “Kiss Kiss.”
What activity was the most fun this week? Our trip to Burgazada, one of the Prince’s Islands, was so much fun. The weather was perfect for sitting on a pebbly beach with friends and watching the sunset. It was on this island that I had the best meal of the week! Horse drawn carriages lined the streets and the view of the Marmara Sea was breathtaking.
What did I read this week? I read a lot of text books for my history class! I also had a chance to read some of my book, Sanctuary, by William Faulkner. He is a great writer.
What games or sports did I play this week? During our Spring Fest, the school supplied inflatable games for the students to play. I got dressed up in a sumo wrestler outfit and tried to wrestle my friend. It was so funny!
Other news from this week: In order to celebrate the end of the year, our University hosted a huge concert on campus last weekend. The headlining name was Tarkan. Tarkan is the number one artist in Turkey right now. His show was amazing! There were light tricks, a band and a stage set up in the middle of the campus lawn. Thousands of people from all over Turkey came to see this concert and it was just right outside of my dormitory. I have never seen a concert in a foreign language, so it was really cool to experience another culture’s big name stars!