2011 was a year filled with adventures like traveling, exploring New York and falling in love. Here were my top 3 adventures in 2011.
3. In the summer my friend Robin and I went to a 1920's revival jazz festival on Governor's Island. Not only had I never been to the island, but I have never seen so many people simultaneously dressed in vintage fashions. From making friends on the subway and ferry because we were all similarly attired, to wandering through a field of hundreds of people all dressed up it was one of the most exciting afternoons I've ever had. It was made even better because I was there reconnecting with an old friend sipping St. Germaine cocktails, chatting with strangers and tapping our toes to the Charleston.
This trip was the first vacation I had ever taken as an adult without a family member or school group to guide me. It was just me, Dave, and TimeOut Istanbul. We stayed in a hostel at the foot of the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofia in an ancient area of the city and every morning heard the call to prayer. In a sprawling city filled with ancient and modern structures side by side it is easy to see just how vast a history it has. I loved visiting the ancient sites, including a day trip out to the ruins at Troy.
My favorite place shown in the picture is the church of St. Savior In Chora. Like most churches it had been turned into a mosque, and outside has the telltale minarets, but inside the Christian art was merely covered up. The church was turned into a historical site, and you can view the most fully intact mosaics in the city. The bookended marble on the walls and the glittering gold mosaic gave me a feeling of what it must have been like all those hundreds of years ago to enter the church. It felt magical, and the mosaic figures were so lifelike that it looked as it they could have stepped off the wall into the room.
Then there was the food. I can't believe how much I ate while I was there. Cheese, meat and spinach plates, pastry from vendors on the street, lamb kebabs, rice and everything else that was put in front of me. And at the end of every meal or snack, a tiny cup of Turkish tea served in a clear glass cup with a spoonful of sugar.
Aside from the sites and tastes of Istanbul we made some great friends in the hostel. There was never a dull moment while we were there hanging out with everyone in the bar on the top floor. We did a pub crawl, played drinking games and stayed up late into the night talking to people from Brazil, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Turkey and possibly quite a few other places.
(Now go out and celebrate!)