Today we woke up, had breakfast in the dining hall again (yes, this did include simit, the bagel like food I’m becoming obsessed with, and yes I did get yelled at by the scary Turkish cafeteria worker for taking too much…whoops!)
After breakfast we had a “technology workshop” which ended up being more like a consulting case for a bank (insert classic Harvard joke here). In all seriousness, though, it was a pretty enlightening experience. Akbank (a banking company in Turkey) was asking us how we would expand into rural or poorer parts of Turkey to provide loans. We were split up into groups of three and Juan, Millie and I came up with the idea to tie loans into marriage packages (meaning if bank patrons took out a loan from Akbank, they could get a discount on a wedding location, etc.) Weddings are an incredibly huge deal in Turkey and it was really fun researching them and asking some of the bank workers for firsthand information about Turkish weddings.
We then headed to Dürümce for lunch. This was a beautiful, multilevel restaurant where we, once again, sat overlooking the water. Lunch was (delicious) chicken kebabs. After lunch we walked along the water for a bit, before making our way to the Dolmabahce Palace.
I hate to say it, but spending a semester in Europe has kind of spoiled me in terms of palaces. Don’t get me wrong, this palace was beautiful (especially because it was literally on the water) but as the tour of the palace started, I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed.
But not so underwhelmed that I didn’t want to take pictures (pictures were illegal inside the palace itself, and I may or may not have yelled at for taking pictures inside said palace…whoops). Anywho, once we got to the last room of the palace, I completely changed my mind. This room was absolutely ginormous, but even more impressive was the 4.5 ton (I’m not kidding) chandelier hanging from the incredibly tall ceiling in the center of the room. The ceiling was as intricate as the carpet on the ground and it was hard to comprehend how expansive this room was.
After the palace we were off on a boat tour. I love boat tours – while in Europe I did boat tours in four different cities (Sevilla, Albufeira (Portugal), London and France) and I just think they are such a beautiful and efficient way to see cities. Istanbul was no exception and the tour took us up and down quite a bit of the Bosphorus straight.
Once the boat tour ended, we went to dinner, which literally consisted of just a baked potato. But not just any baked potato – a completely stuffed baked potato, filled with many delicious things that you could pick a-la-carte – I had mine with mozzarella cheese, peas and a spicy cous cous-like type topping.
We then had about an hour back at the hotel, and then we were off to Keçi pub. This was a great bonding time, but it was a little strange, since the pub was essentially modeled off an English pub, complete with books and posters lining the walls in English and American pop music playing over the speakers.
TGT: 1) wonderful boat tour of Istanbul 2) delicious lunch overlooking the water 3) going to the Dolmabahce palace
Until next time,