Mormon Mission World

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Week-end in Turkey

We were privileged to spend Thanksgiving weekend in Istanbul!  Turkey became part of our mission a year or so ago.  Our President and his wife travel there frequently so we were able to tag along on this trip.  We were able to meet members and leaders in the branch and meet many that we normally only correspond with in email.  It is nice to meet and put names with the faces.

We had Thanksgiving dinner with the Senior couples who are in Istanbul.  Also invited to the dinner were some service missionaries who were there for the week from SLC to train medical staff on fitting wheel chairs.  Most of the couples there are Humanitarian Aid missionaries. Their translators were also included making a nice group for our festive traditional meal.  The turkeys were ordered from a local restaurant since no one had an oven large enough to cook them.  They looked a bit as though they had been run over by a truck, but tasted great!  We had all the usual holiday foods and enjoyed a great time getting acquainted.

The city of Istanbul is large and bustling with somewhere between 16 and 24 million people.  As we battled the crowds we were pretty sure that none of them stay at home.  Just think of a crowd leaving a stadium after a sporting event (maybe the Super Bowl) and the resulting traffic to exit the parking lot and you will have a vague idea of the traffic and crowds in Istanbul.

Istanbul is the only city in the world that is located on two continents.  It was strange to stand gazing across the water and realize that Asia was on the other side.  We found the city to be very clean and prosperous.  That may explain the amount of people.  Everyone that we encountered was very friendly and gracious.  The subway system is fantastic!  Getting around underground is much easier than above.

The Blue Mosque
While there we were awakened each morning to a serenade calling the faithful to prayer.  Thankfully it was not mid-summer when the sun rises early and so does the chanter; 5:54 was quite early enough.   

Inside the Blue Mosque
We were also able to visit many famous locations – The Blue Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Market, etc. 

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

 We (well, maybe I) found a lot of treasures to bring back.  At one shop I discovered a knife that I thought Elder Segeberg would like to add to his collection.  After negotiating a price the proprietor securely wrapped it in bubble wrap.

 The he said, “Dagger Lady, you put this in your checked bag, not your carry-on.  I not want to see you on CNN tonight being arrested for hi-jacking a plane!”  He had a thick accent and was very entertaining!  Although they are not really your best friend and only want you to spend your money in their shop it was fun to interact with them.  They have learned that a smile and a smart comment attract the most prey. It was fun!

We are seeing much more of the world than we had anticipated a year ago when we left for our mission.  Getting to experience other cultures and places is definitely a nice side benefit.  The children of God are all over, they are loved by Him just as we are.  It is a joy to learn to love them too!

Enjoy the pictures!

This street is said to have 1,000,000 people on it everyday.

Night view from Apartment where we stayed

Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia

This Egyptian monolith was brought back from Egypt by Constantine. Made in 1479 BC

The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar

Sultans Palace

Water source in Harem area, Sultans palace

View of the Dardanelles, separates Asia from Europe


  1. How exciting for you! I have always wanted to see places you have seen and walked in the streets mingling with the people. Serving the Lord has help you do that. And helped me see sites I will never get to see. Thanks for the updates!

  2. I think I have the travel bug. What great pictures! I'm definitely jealous--and am so glad I get to experience these parts of the world through your eyes!