>

To begin, it was a lovely day downtown.




Here's Irene, Alexandra, Ana Maria and Liliana happily crammed in the Taxi. It fit 6 of us!




While we were on the road in busy traffic, there was
a guy riding this bike-like thing with TONS of Turkish Rugs!




Then we arrived to the famous Blue Mosque.




To enter, they gave all the girls scarves to cover their heads.




Inside was absolutely beautiful. What's even more impressive is
that they constructed the ENTIRE Mosque from 1609-1616, in only 7 years!




Afterwards, we went for lunch. This is Özlem and Liliana shaking "ayran" which is a
Turkish drink they sometimes have with meals. It's basically just plain yogurt,
but it goes well with a kebab.




When we were back out on the streets, I had to pay 1,000,000 Turkish Lira to use the bathroom!




But at least I could take my pick, not bad for 75 cents.




This is from inside the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. When the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453,
the church was converted into a mosque. This is why we see all of the Arabic letters mixed in
with the Christian architecture.




Later we went underground to see how they used to "purify" water. Pretty Cool.




Here's a picture of us at the Grand Bazaar Downtown. This is the BIGGEST open market
I've ever been to. They have everything here and it's pretty cheap, *IF* you know how to barter.




For the evening they took us to the "Kumkapi", which is a really happenin' restaurant district downtown.




This is Deniz and Can, two other members of the club that drove us all around and hosted us so well.




They also had an awesome Turkish Band that night.




Which made everyone dance.




At the end, I presented everyone with a Texas Rotary District 5790 pin.
Special thanks to Rotary Governor Chuck Kurtzman for giving me so many!




By the end of the day, I'd say we'd gotten to know Istanbul quite well.
It was now time to focus on our service project.

Click HERE- to see our future club project, The Istanbul Rotary Childrens Center!