Rather than attempting to snowboard in the wind that bowls me over when I am merely standing, let along attempting to slide, I went to Bursa, the city at the bottom of the mountain. We had a wonderful time!!! There were 7 of us on this mini trip: 5 girls, Kristin, Nina, Beth, Veronica, Fiona and myself, and one ESN Turkish guy, Gokhan. He was “touristing” with us, but was also our tour guide, translator and navigator. It was really nice to spend time with them, because I didn’t know most of them all too well, and now I have a bunch of new friends here. ❤ (from left: Kristin, Beth, Gokhan, Veronica, Fiona, Nina)

We got off the dolmus right next to a castle, which was way cool.

Our first stop was a mosque, which had a gorgeous fountain. It was really soothing and calming!!

The artwork around the mosque was really pretty, and the whole place seemed really well taken care of.

This is most of our group here =)

From there, we went to the bazzar. I love bazzars! I love the fake cheap stuff, hearing the merchants hawk and try so hard to get you in their shops…it’s such a fun atmosphere.

A really cool little flower-shaped garden under a bridge we walked over =)

After that, we had lunch and headed to the sultans’ tombs. We were aiming for the first two sultans of the Ottoman empire. We got distracted along the way by a wonderful, FREE museum of Turkish Islamic Art. The garden within the walls was an amazing oasis from the city you could barely hear just outside.

Then we found the tomb of the 6th sultan and his family. His 3 sons are on either side of him, and his 5 daughters are behind him. I didn’t find any wives, but I couldn’t read one or two of the signs. (Though, interestingly, the daughters’ tombs are actually larger than those of the sons….)

We wandered to a sweets shop, then walked about 2 kilometers back to meet up with the bus of folks who stayed on Uludag to ski. Before we left, we stopped at a restroom–doesn’t this sign look like Lucille Ball?! We started the trip back to Ankara at around 4PM, and arrived by about 10:30PM.

Grammy left this morning really early to head back to Colorado. Her plane took off shortly after 6AM. I’m kind of really sad to see her go, because I so thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her and haven’t had the chance to do so before now for a few years. When she called last night, she asked if I was going to be okay over the next four months on my own. I don’t really have a choice though, do I? =) I’ll make it because I have to.

I’m one of the lucky ones here though. I have people I can go to, who can help me should I run into any problems. A lot of people don’t have that at all. I hope all will be well for us all though.

~Han

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