All posts tagged: Turkey

The Hagia Sophia: a Great Testament to the Human Spirit

One of those things we as a society think we don’t agree about, is religion. There are currently approximately 4,200 known religions in the world — but the differences in beliefs aren’t the source of the disagreements. It’s the perception that we have more differences than we have in common, and that in those differences begin fear. Religion is a sensitive topic. It has, after all, spun wars for centuries, claiming thousands and thousands of lives. This is one of the main reasons why it was amazing to step foot in a place like the beautiful Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, now a museum but one with so much history — both cultural and religious. If you look around its interior, you would still see remnants of symbolism from different religions, as it was originally constructed as a Greek Orthodox basilica, later became a Roman Catholic church, and when the Ottoman Turks came to Turkey, it was converted into a Mosque. It is a testament to how a city evolves with time, a witness to the …

Introspective on Change at the Basilica Cistern

I have been thinking about change lately. What is it that brings about the process, is it the need for it, or the time it takes, or is it the environment we all move in that forces us to be something a little different each time? When we went to Istanbul, the Basilica Cistern was the perfect place to be introspective and retrospective of the trip that was bringing about changes in my outlook, and consequently, my life and relationships — familial, platonic and romantic. It was a quiet, beautiful place, and in itself has undergone tremendous change in the course of its history, having been constructed under a basilica, designed to serve as the source of water for a palace; closed; rediscovered and used to store water for the city; became a dumping ground; and now that its great historical significance has been unearthed, cleaned and opened to the public. Change is scary, sometimes painful, at times comedic if we choose to step back and be a part of it willingly. In this great …

Wall of Wishes

I think it is in the Max Ehrmann poem Desiderata where he says, “therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.” There are 7 billion people in the world, all with their own dreams and wishes; each praying to their gods as dictated by their beliefs. Some believe in no god, and yet in their hearts are whispers of their hopes and aspirations. I was raised Catholic. Born in the Philippines, an almost 80% Catholic country, I grew up believing in all things that came with this faith. So during our most recent trip out of the States in November of last year, it felt almost surreal to be stepping foot at what was believed to have been the Virgin Mary’s House. In Catholic school growing up, every October we used to have rosary month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and I remember saying a lot of Hail Mary’s, with “pray for us” being …

Candid at Bodrum Castle, Turkey

What do people see in us during our most unguarded moments? When we allow ourselves to just be, at our most free, one with our truth, stripped to our core, unpretentious, alone with our own thoughts, most honest, most vulnerable? Above photos taken by MW, in Bodrum, Turkey, November 2013. We found Bodrum interesting. There wasn’t as much to explore compared to the other destinations we were to go on the cruise we were in at the time, so we spent most of the day at Bodrum Castle, looking out at the beautiful, pristine water beneath and exploring the castle itself. On our way back to the ship, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant looking out at the water. The food wasn’t as memorable as our meals from other stops so there isn’t much to tell there, but the view is definitely worth sharing. Perhaps one of the most memorable things about Bodrum for me was the walk from the ship to the castle, where we found the coolest-shaped ATM ever. We really find …

When in Turkey

2013 brought my boyfriend and I to a number of places I never thought I would find myself in. During our most recent cruise, Marmaris, Turkey was a mystery to us. We did our research and had low expectations about the port. When we got there, it turned out to be beautiful, and most importantly, it was where we found the best lamb dish we’ve eaten: Ottoman Kebab at the Liman Restaurant Marina At the entrance of the restaurant was a guy welcoming guests and a huge menu with pictures, descriptions and prices. We immediately pointed at the picture of the Ottoman Kebab and asked what it was. I personally do not eat lamb, but I am so glad we decided to try it — the moment the server brought it to our table, you could smell how delicious it was (made the person seating next to us curious and ask what we were eating). Any other lamb I have tasted anywhere else has a weird taste to me, but for some reason this kebab …