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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Istanbul, Day Four (the Sabbath)

When Brandon and I booked our trip for Istanbul in April, we made sure to schedule our trip so as to avoid Friday, the sabbath in the Middle East.  When the revolution took us away and kept us away long enough to miss the trip, we had less flexibility to reschedule, and so had to schedule over a Friday.

After contacting the Branch President in Istanbul, however, we found out that the weekend here is Western, and so church was on Sunday anyway, so our previous scheduling would have not made a bit of difference.

When traveling on the Sabbath, Brandon and I (and the children by default) try to avoid activities we don't engage in at home and keep it a day of rest as much as possible.  So this morning, after having a leisurely breakfast (sorry, Metin), we got ready for church and made our way to a park near the church building.

On our way, we saw a (literal) cat house.

And just before the park we found an enormous, floral cat sculpture.

In the park, we discovered the subtle sport of vying-for-shady-park-benches-with-old-Turkish-men.  After circling, looking for a likely candidate, and lying in wait, we scored a shady bench and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves eating fresh cherries, Turkish delight, and baklava for 'lunch.'

We were able to find church easily enough, and rode up to the seventh floor crammed in with the mission president and his wife, visiting from Sofia.  We also were able to meet the Area President who was visiting, and talk to him about church in Baku.  The LDS world is always small, but it gets even smaller in this part of the world.  We were disappointed to find out that our fellow FSLDS colleagues were out for the summer.

We enjoyed a wonderful meeting with Turks, Filipinos, Nigerians, Ethiopians, and fellow Americans.  It was my first meeting with simultaneous Turkish-English and English-Turkish translations.  I was very impressed with the efforts of the Branch President.  

After church, we strolled back to our hotel and saw more slumbering cats.

It's our last evening in Istanbul, so we enjoyed a pleasant stroll among the crowds at the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque as the sun set.  One more day, and then home to Cairo.

1 comment:

UnkaDave said...

Holy mackerel! That one picture makes you look pregnant or something!
Thank you very much for the great trip account. Too bad your kids have missed you so much. Not.