Tag Archives: europe

Constantinopoli!

Wow! It feels like just yesterday we were booking hostels and buying bus tickets for Istanbul, and just like that it’s over. I am so, so happy I decided to go because I absolutely fell in love with that city. I know I wouldn’t have known what I was missing out on if I hadn’t gone, but thank god I made it there before I left Europe. Monday and Tuesday were two absolutely crazy ridiculous days, but they were worth every second. 

Our adventures started right off the bat. An old Turkish man in a suit approached us as soon as we got into town and not only went to find someone who knew English to read the directions to our hostel, but actually took us all the way there. I will never know why that man had the time or the desire to help six random Americans and take an almost 30-minute walk with them, but I don’t even want to know how long it would have taken us to find the place without him. We took an overnight bus (which means basically no sleep), but since we only had two days we only sat down to eat breakfast and then we were out. After we walked out the door, the only other time we sat down that day was to eat lunch, and that is not an exaggeration. We went to the Grand Bazaar, which is completely appropriately named, and the Blue Mosque before heading back to get ready for the concert.

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ImageWe found the Grand Bazaar randomly on the way to the Hagia Sophia. The only problem with that was that those two things aren’t even close to each other… Like I said, I was pretty lost the entire trip. We spent over two hours there and I don’t even think I saw a tenth of it. Image

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We had to wear these inside the mosque. I think we pull them off, don’t you?

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I think the best part about not knowing where we were was that we honestly just wandered our way to and from everywhere. Walking for two days straight was absolute hell, but we would have missed so much taking taxis or public transportation everywhere. We didn’t get to do everything we wanted to just because of how much time we spent walking, but I’m glad that we got to take our time actually seeing what little of the city we did see. 

The JT concert was absolutely incredible. He puts on one hell of a show. And I have no idea how he is so good at everything he does. I don’t have any good pictures, unfortunately, but just take my word for it. Absolutely worth waiting an hour listening to “Some Type Of Way” on repeat for an hour, standing for over three and climbing a fence to find a taxi that we overpaid for to get home. 

The second day we got to go in the Hagia Sophia and we went to a Turkish bath, after a serious struggle with the number one worst hostel receptionist of all time. Let me tell you, that bath was quite the experience. Not an experience I’m sure I want to repeat, but definitely something I’m glad I got to do once in my life. After we ate dinner a few of us went last minute shopping to spend the last of our Lira and we ended up getting to our shuttle pick up at exactly the right time. Seriously, if we had been two minutes later we would have missed it. I have no idea how we managed that so perfectly, but it couldn’t have turned out better if we had planned it that way. 

I can honestly say I will be back there. Two days was nowhere near enough. I could spend forever just walking down every side street and spending too much time looking in all the random shops. I left my heart in Turkey.

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Saturday Special: Under the Sea

I did it! I finally tipped my toes into the world of seafood. I LOVE seafood. Living in Mississippi, catfish is basically a vital part of my life. Anyway, I’ve never cooked seafood before. I walk by the seafood every time I go to the market, but I’ve always been too nervous to buy any fish before today. Last night I looked up the Greek word for Salmon (σολομός) so I had NO excuses. I passed a few stalls with salmon before I gathered up the courage to walk up to one. Today was an expensive day at the market, since I bought fish and chicken. I was looking for a yoga mat (I’ve started doing yoga pretty consistently about four days a week! Fingers crossed that this stays a habit) but there was not one to be found (at least as far as I could tell). 

My meal tonight was about 5 euro. Not too bad. For some reason I’m still scared of the oven. I feel pretty confident cooking things on the stove but anything involving the oven freaks me out. I think it’s getting better as I just suck it up and do it. I think it’s just because I can’t actively see how cooked the food is. 

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I used this recipe. I have a new favorite “filler” food that I put in almost everything: sautéed spinach and tomatoes. It’s so easy, quick and super delicious. A few nights this week I made a meal out of it by adding bell peppers,broccoli and soy sauce. The salmon I bought had bones in it, so it ended up being a bunch of small pieces of salmon pushed together to look like one larger piece (luckily those tomatoes on top hide my handiwork). No bones made it to the final product, though, and it wasn’t overcooked, so no harm done. I’m really happy with this first attempt at fish. Seriously, go me. Actually being able to see how my cooking has improved since I started making a concentrated effort to learn is so satisfying. 

In other news, happy spring! The weather in Thessaloniki is miles better than it was just a week ago. It’s absolutely beautiful. Here’s proof:Image

 

Unfortunately, I forgot that warm weather meant bugs. I left my balcony door open ONE night and I am covered in bites. I definitely did not miss this. Oh well, it is a trade I am willing to make for the absolutely perfect weather we have been having. Beach weather is nigh approaching, and I cannot wait. 

Street Art

I absolutely LOVE street art. Thankfully (well, depending on who you ask), Thessaloniki has a LOT of graffiti. This isn’t always a good thing, as sometimes people run out of walls and take to using statues:

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How fitting that PAOK is graffitied on this statue of Alexander the Great

But to me, the street art is what gives Thessaloniki so much of its charm. I’ve always had a soft spot for well-done graffiti. Here are some of the pieces I managed to remember to photograph:

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 This last one is a commissioned piece in downtown Thessaloniki done by two traveling street artists. It’s probably one of the most popular murals in the city and definitely my favorite.

As a bonus, have some Amsterdam street art (expect a full Amsterdam blog post soon!). There wasn’t much graffiti in the city, but we did stumble upon a street full of it when we were exploring downtown.

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I’ve been making a more concentrated effort to photograph my surroundings. I haven’t been doing much as far as traveling goes, but I’ve realized that there’s so much going on in Thessaloniki that I need to take the time to appreciate. I’m not about to waste my last three months here (cue major tears) by not taking in all it has to offer.

I saw a sunset

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The sunsets here are all beautiful, and each one is completely different from the last.

I know I’ve been slacking on my blogging. In my defense, I’ve been very busy, very ill and I’m writing for my University study abroad blog this semester. However, I have been brainstorming a photo project for my Honor’s College thesis and I will be putting that together here. More info later (read: more info if it actually happens). I’m pretty excited about it, but I don’t want to commit until I know I’ve got the time and energy to follow through.

Other than trying to get over this illness, not much is happening for me here. Still, I’d rather be sick here than healthy back home, at least for the next four months.

More as it happens and, as always, χαλαρά