Istanbul Day 3 – 3.16.15

Today we woke up and drove directly to the one of the University’s dinning halls. Once there we had a delicious breakfast, very similar to yesterday’s (which included simit – a bagel-like bread, hard-boiled eggs and more bread with honey).

We then heard a brief welcome speech by the University president. After that, we had a quick campus tour, a lot of which we had seen already, but it was nice going around again, this time to get a bit more situated. Next was a conversational Turkish class. Turkish is an incredibly challenging language, not only in terms of structure, but also in terms of pronunciation. We stumbled through the class, learning how the “c” is pronounced as “j”, and trying to comprehend what the ç, š and ü sound like.

After that we heard from a University professor, who talked about how Bogazici University is aiming to become the first university in the world to be completely sustainable (relying solely on wind power). The way HCAP works is that we host the January conference with a certain theme (this year’s was “technology and our generation”) and then we learn about that same theme in whichever city we travel to.

Lunch was also in the dinning hall and after that we took public transportation (the bus, since Istanbul is still building their subway system) to get to Taksim Square.

Once in Taksim Square, we walked for a bit and then the real fun began. The ten of us Harvard students were divided into three teams. I was with Chris, Teagan and Hande (who is from Turkey). We ran (literally) throughout the streets of Istanbul, asking questions in broken Turkish and trying to complete the scavenger hunt as quickly as possible. The hunt took us through a church, a bakery/candy store (with delicious Turkish delight that a worker let us sample!), up a 140+ meter tower, across (and under) a bridge, through a mosque, and ended in a spice bazaar. All in all it was a wonderful experience and allowed us to see so much of Istanbul in such a short period of time.

Dinner was also under the bridge – the top layer of this bridge that spans an offshoot of the Bosphorus straight is for cars and pedestrians (and fishermen) and the bottom layer has shops and restaurants. For dinner, we had what was I’m sure some of the freshest seafood ever – we were sitting on the water (still on the bridge) and had a really good grilled-fish sandwich.

After dinner we headed back into the bus and went to Oz’s house for a Turkish house party. Yes, it was as crazy as it sounds and involved lots of singing, dancing, smoking and chatting. After a long night, we stopped on the way home for some kabobs and then headed off to bed.

TGT: 1) scavenger hunt all around Turkey 2) entertaining Turkish house party 3) simit and other delicious food for breakfast

Until next time,
~JK

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