Our formal International Experience starts during the second half of our Spring Break, so a good friend of mine and I decided to head to Istanbul for the week before our time in Israel. I had been to the city before . . .but this time around, I got to take in the sites on both the European and Asian sides. We went to the classic tourist locations: Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and the Blue Mosque. My favorite is the Suleymaniye Mosque - (see photo below) - I always feel amazingly inspired but totally at home here. Other highlights include walking down Istiklal Street at night, eating lots of borek at all hours of the day, and visiting the hamams and the markets. I'm admittedly crazy about Turkish rugs - their patterns, their colors, the way they warm up a room, and each rug has a story - but I'm happy to report that I've resisted the urge to purchase another one thus far, granted my friend did have to intervene, but just once. We were lucky enough to know a few people here so we spent one night with some college classmates of ours at a catered dinner party in an insanely beautiful apartment with a terrace overlooking the Bosporus Strait. It was downright fabulous, even in my Danskos. It's a great reminder that we live in an increasingly small and connected - but luckily still gracious - little world. Next stop: Jerusalem.