I went to Istanbul for the first few days of my summer vacation because why not? I saw two mosques and a former mosque, the Hagia Sophia. It was under construction and sorely in need of the renovations, which I found ironic considering it charged an admission. Other mosques that didn’t charge admission had far better upkeep. I asked the friend I was with what he thought the money went towards, and he gestured towards the metal detectors and admission booth and security. Amusingly, I think he was probably right.
Istanbul as a whole was quite cute. Winding, narrow cobblestone streets, up and down the hilly coast. I ate kofte every day. People spoke Turkish at me sometimes (my ethnic look is malleable, I’ve learned in my travels,) and I literally had never heard anything like it before. It sounds like no language I have any knowledge of and if I were to mimic it, I would just make gibberish, garbled sounds. Sometimes when Turkish people spoke English, they kept the garbled sound and it was difficult to understand them. And none of the signage was in English, so I was extremely thankful I was with friend who knew their way around, and that we had the Internet to search for everything before we ventured out. But if I had been born a Turk, in that picturesque coastal city, I think it would be quite an enjoyable life.