It’s been a very busy and exciting few weeks! After finishing up my midterm exams during the first week of November, my parents arrived in Athens on the 9th to spend ten days experiencing my life in Greece with me! I loved showing them the Acropolis, the Agora and the many awesome museums in Athens. I hope they’d tell you I was a good tour guide! Since I still had classes during the week they visited, Mom and Dad decided to take some day-trips to Delphi, Epidauros and Mycenae. From what they told me they loved these sites as much I did and I’m so glad they got to see other parts of Greece outside of Athens. One of the highlights our week together was getting to sit in the Panathenaic Stadium and cheer on the winners of the Athens Classic Marathon.
After a great week with my parents, my friend Anna and I headed off on a trip to Istanbul and London! Both of these cities were amazing for very different reasons and I feel so lucky to have been able to travel during my fall break. Having studied the Hagia Sophia in two art history classes at Tufts, I was so excited to see it for myself! One of my favorite aspects of the church-turned-mosque is its blend of Islamic and Christian attributes. Upon walking into the main building, I was immediately struck by the height of the central dome and the enormous size of the circular roundels with their beautiful Arabic calligraphy. Since we live in a world where religions are often seen only for their differences, I loved stepping into a space where Christian and Islamic aspects seem to meld together. All of the mosques Anna and I visited, including the Blue Mosque, were amazing. We also visited Topkapi Palace (Ottoman), the Roman Basilica Cistern, the Spice Market, Grand Bazaar, and Istanbul’s Archaeological Museum. Although I loved everything about our visit to Istanbul, my favorite part about the city is the daily call to prayer (“adhan”). Five times a day a “muezzin” announces the call from each mosque in the city. The sound of the chanting radiates throughout Istanbul and creates a beautiful melodic chant. I was so mesmerized by it that I have at least five or six videos recorded on my phone! After a great couple of days in Istanbul, Anna and I left early on Thanksgiving (hence my ironic Thanksgiving in Turkey), and headed over to London.
Inside the Hagia Sophia
The Blue Mosque at night The Basilica Cistern
In addition to seeing Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and all of the other things London has to offer, I also got to visit with two of my best friends: Lucia and Brie! Both of them are studying in England this semester so my visit to London was made even more perfect because I got to spend it with them! On Friday, Lucia and I had a busy day touring all of the famous sites of London including the National Portrait Gallery, Harrod’s, and the “Eye.” London struck me as a very clean and classy city with lots of beautiful architecture. Even their taxis were classy looking! I also really enjoyed getting a taste of winter weather and seeing the amazing Christmas decorations. On Saturday, Brie left Oxford for the day to meet me at the British Museum in London where we got to see the Rosetta Stone and the other Parthenon sculptures. I also had afternoon tea with both Lucia and Brie and even stopped by the Tower of London.
My trip to Istanbul and London was amazing and I feel so lucky that I’ve now gotten to experience four different countries! I love seeing all of the stamps in my passport and I can’t wait to add more! I’m now settling in for my last three weeks in Greece. I’ll be staying in Athens so I can hopefully make the most of my last couple of weeks here and visit the last few museums and sites on my list. I’ll keep you updated on my adventures in Athens…hope you enjoy the pics!