This is going to be my last post, because, unfortunately, I'm back home in the States. So let's recap my last few days in Nepal, and my 24-hour layover excursion in Turkey, shall we?
To be honest, not too much exciting happened during the last few days. There was a bit of scrambling to buy souvenirs, get my fill of momo, and pack before I had to ship off. Saying good-bye to the monks wasn't too heart-wrenching. They seem pretty used to the fact that people come and go frequently. I did get a really cool gold scarf as a thank you/goodbye gift. It was sweet. The last time I went to the orphanage was a bit more difficult though. The kids didn't quite understand that another girl and I were leaving until just before we were planning on leaving. Then it was challenge to stop all the hugging and crying that had commenced. One of the little girls wrote me a note that made me tear up a bit, so that was just plain old adorable.
The next day, I was up even earlier than usual to catch my flight, which was pretty non-eventful. Then, I was in Istanbul! I had originally planned to take a taxi into the city, but found out from the desk at the hotel that it was a bit more than I had expected, so I took the metro. Let me tell you one thing. A packed train full on a hot day does not help the fact that Turks do not smell good. It was a bit unpleasant, but I managed to get to the Hagia Sofia and my bus tour. The bus tour was pretty good. You can only see so much when you're stuck in a vehicle, but it was a nice overview of the city. I can't even tell you how many times I crossed between Europe and Asia.
After the tour, I went into the Hagia Sofia. It was incredible. Even though half of it was under construction, it was still stunning. It was so interesting to see all the different styles of architecture, art, and religion in one place. If I had had the time (and the money), hiring a guide would've been an awesome thing to do. There's just so much in there that wasn't explained, and I feel like I'd be able to appreciate it so much more if I had more of the background. Still, I'm glad I went.
Next, I went across the park to the Blue Mosque. Again, stunning. Since it's still an operating mosque, all women were required to be covered and wear a head scarf (which were so generously provided). Inside was amazing. Looking at my pictures, I'm a little disappointed they didn't turn out very well, but I hope you can still see a bit of all the intricacy that was inside. I couldn't spend too much time there, since a prayer session was about to start, so I headed out to wander the streets.
I walked around a bit, exploring the lesser walked streets of the city. Then for dinner, I knew I wanted to get a kebab, because yum. So I started looking for a cute little place where I wouldn't feel too awkward sitting by myself. I eventually found a little shop with tables outside, and enjoyed the deliciousness that is kebab, and cherry juice. While I was eating, I spotted a bakery across the street, so naturally, I had to get some Turkish baklava covered in chocolate, I mean, how could I not? After my little feast, I was exhausted so I hopped on the metro back to the hotel where I slept like a baby.
The next morning, I woke up a little earlier than I would have liked, but I just spent a few hours enjoying the peace and quite of the hotel room. When it was time, I headed to the airport for my flight. This flight felt particularly long. I had already watched most of the movies that were available, so it was a bit of a struggle to keep myself entertained the whole way. Once we landed, I zipped through customs, waited forever for my bag, and was so kindly driven home by my sister.
And now I'm home-- happy I went, slightly sad that I'm back. I really did have a fantastic time. Learned about the Nepali culture, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Now enjoy the last pictures I have to share.