Leaving Istanbul…forever?

Hi all!

sorry for the silence these last few weeks. My parents have been in town and we’ve been all over–Antalya, Sarajevo, Dubrovnik, etc.

Tomorrow we hang out in Istanbul. One more day and then its back to America. Not sure how these last 18 months went so quickly…

simits, simits

simits, simits

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Portraits, Portraits, Portraits

Hey All!

So Alex has been gone for 2+ weeks. I am staying super busy! I’m tutoring more than normal and I’ve been taking LOTS of portraits for friends/families I know here. I really love doing them. Here’s a handful :)

This is Melissa, the 2-year-old I spend every morning with.

My favorite.

My favorite.

Sweet Melissa

Sweet Melissa

Love her outfit!

Love her outfit!

Emir and Melissa, two of my students (who I love so much!)

Emir and Melissa, two of my students (who I love so much!)

Melissa and her mom.

Melissa and her mom.

And occasionally I get to photograph my friends…

My best Turkish friend, Nilhan.

My best Turkish friend, Nilhan.

Don't you love her hair?

Don’t you love her hair?

Check out that city behind them!

Check out that city behind them!

A little outtake--isn't Istanbul beautiful!?

A little outtake–isn’t Istanbul beautiful!?

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This last one is one of my favorite pictures of all time. I love her expression and I LOVE how bold Turks are…! :)

This is what happens when little blonde kids go out in public.

This is what happens when little blonde kids go out in public.

Alex has left Istanbul!

Sad, sad days. Alex has officially left the city.

Last Turkish breakfast together (the day before he left)

Last Turkish breakfast together (the day before he left)

We have had so much fun here together. We both say that this is handsdown the most fun we’ve ever had–every day for nearly two years. SO COOL. I came here with hesitation but now I’m in denial about leaving. Saying goodbye to Alex (and Gomez!) at the airport was so hard!

Sunrise as I made my way back home--without Alex!  :(

Sunrise as I made my way back home–without Alex! :(

Sarah Thomas in Istanbul (the Princes’ Islands)

Sarah

Sarah

Alex leaves in 6 days! Where is the time going?! I can’t even think about it. We have had a guest the last few days, my great/wonderful/beautiful friend Sarah Thomas. This afternoon was a perfectly nearly-sunny day at the Princes’ Islands.

Alexander the Great :)

Alexander the explorer :)

Sarah and I

Sarah and I

It’s so hard to believe that we are just a few miles from the largest city in Europe! I cannot imagine a more peaceful place to escape the busy city life. It’s easy to imagine you are the only people on the entire island.

Stopping for a photo along the bike route.

Stopping for a photo along the bike route.

There are really nice bike paths and we rented some bikes despite the cloudy skies. So worth it–the sun came out for us and the threat of rain chased away the crowds.

Horses on break from the carriage rides.

Horses on break from the carriage rides.

Wild goats!

Wild goats!

Lots of fun wildlife around the island.

Sarah escaping into coast.

Sarah escaping into coast.

Alex exploring the "cove"

Alex exploring the “cove”

Love love love!

Lydia

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Lisbon, city that I love.

A new city for us!

A new city for us!

Welcome too..LISBON!! A totally new city for both of us! This hasn’t happened in a while (where neither of us have been to an area) and it was really exciting to discover Lisbon’s greatness.

Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

I’m in love with Lisbon. Looking at all of these pictures again (two weeks after visiting) it’s clear again how fantastic this city was/is! I can’t believe that more people don’t flock here every time they set foot in Europe.

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Belem Tower, just on the edge of Lisbon.

Belem Tower, just on the edge of Lisbon.

There is gorgeous architecture, the coolest stone streets (and squares), red tiled houses (backed by the sea), and tons of history. Not to mention the ideal weather and general beauty of being so close to the water. Lisbon was fun for a couple days, but I could definitely see staying longer.

Street music with a view.

Street music with a view.

Busy street corner.

Busy street corner.

Wall of graffiti near the port.

Wall of graffiti near the port.

Just an all around fun, old-town atmosphere. And in April it wasn’t really too touristy! or at least they were easy areas to escape.

A little curvy street of Lisbon.

A little curvy street of Lisbon.

How cool is this street?

So, so many little alleys like this, with apartments on either side.

We bought a "Pau" bag from this little old man.

We bought a “Pau” bag from this little old man.

Loved all the window cats. :)

Loved all the window cats. :)

And of course–the sea. I think it might have been something more technical, like an inlet/bay/harbor/etc…? But I am calling it the sea.

Looking out over the water toward "India"...hmmm....

Looking out over the water toward “India”…errr….

When we arrived from the airport it was early morning and our AirBnB hosts weren’t ready for us yet. One of the first things we did was wonder into this “Jardin de Estruela” nearby. It was gorgeous! We were ready to just move to Lisbon and live in this park.

The gates around Jardin de Estruela

The gates around Jardin de Estruela

Inside the park

Inside the park

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This old lady might have ACTUALLY moved into the park.

Sleeping or dead....sleeeping or...dead?

Sleeping or dead….sleeeping or…dead?

Anyhow–we made our way into the city after a quick stop by our lovely AirBnB hosts home. How cute is this little room? and for $25/night!

We love traveling with Airbnb!

We love traveling with Airbnb!

We ended up just walking and walking as much as we could. We went to the main port area, which was SUPER cool. Imagine being on a ship hundreds of years ago, pulling up to this city, and walking through these cool gates?

Alex with the city gate behind him.

Alex with the city gate.

Me with one of the cool old street cars behind me.

Check out the cool old street cars behind me.

Alex standing on one of the old city streets that leads in from the port.

Alex standing on one of the old city streets that leads in from the port.

We stayed in two different areas of the city (one night each). It was worth it to see two different sides of the same small city, even if it meant carrying our bags around while we waited for check-in times. This was one of the few times that Alex was carrying my camera around, and it must have put him in photographer mode. I ended up in a lot of pictures.

Modelin' on the street outside our AirBnB spot.

Modelin’ on the street outside our AirBnB spot.

We rode the street cars once. It was easy but a little slow and we kept being told to watch for pick-pockets.

Alex waiting at the tram stop in the city center.

Alex waiting at the tram stop in the city center.

Souvenirs from Portugal

Souvenirs from Portugal

So in the past we like to rent a car in a new city and see it from every angle. In Lisbon we just enjoyed being able to walk to nearly every corner of the city. It’s very hilly and there were a few times we felt a little lost!

Alex, the ever-faithful guide!

Alex, the ever-faithful guide!

But every street would have new, interesting things. Even just the little back side streets in the residential areas felt overwhelmingly COOL. Not just quaint, or old, or charming–COOL. :)

Carrying all of our belonging,everywhere.

Carrying all of our belonging,everywhere.

This is a city of HILLS.

This is a city of HILLS.


They even had a mega-elevator built ages ago that would connect two of the main neighborhoods. So neat!

Alex looking up at this massive ELEVATOR they built because of the steep hills!

Alex looking up at the massive elevator

Oh yeah–and I added to our belongings. Oops. I don’t know if there’s anything I have learned how to do better in the last two years than spot treasures being put out in the trash. Seriously, some of the coolest souvenirs we have from our time in Istanbul were free on the side of the road.

So when I saw these guys digging through this shamble of broken furniture, I knew there was something calling my name!

Me and my two new friends in our trash pile treasure hunt!

Me and my two new friends in our trash pile treasure hunt!

Yep.

Me and my  Lisbon tennis racket :)

Me and my Lisbon tennis racket :)

Alex is a saint for putting up with me, and carrying my tennis racket. He’s storing up HIS treasures in heaven ;)

On that note–We went inside one old cathedral/monastary.

Gorgeous, yes?

Gorgeous, yes?

Those ceilings...!

Those ceilings…!

Some of these old buildings are just unreal.

Some of these old buildings are just unreal.

This is another one…

Old churches, everywhere. Sorry for not knowing the names!

Old churches, everywhere. Sorry for not knowing the names!

And one more.

Also didn't go in this one...oops.

Also didn’t go in this one…oops.

And I can’t forget, these special “Belem Pastries”. Apparently all around the world they are named for this one special pastry shop. We lucked out with it being off season, I guess the line can wrap wayy down the street.

Almost everyone who walks in orders one of these 1 euro pastries.

Almost everyone who walks in orders one of these 1 euro pastries.

Imagine eggy-custard inside a mini pastry shell.

His and Hers

His and Hers

This might be the first every dessert that I liked LESS than Alex did! He thought they were the greatest ever.

Alex loved it!

Alex loved it!

Alright, I gotta go so I’m wrapping up here with my favorite.

Just a couple of Portu-geese.

Just a couple of Portu-geese.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures– I’m out! :)

Lydia

Housesitting/Dogwalking

Here’s a post I’ve been thinking about for awhile, our house/dog sitting job. I’ve been walking these two dogs (Sasha and Pippa) since last February. Alex does it now because my schedule is full of tutoring all the time. It’s a fun way to make some extra money and Alex really loves dogs–perfect combo. And every so often we stay overnight when their owner goes out of town.

Sasha

Sasha

Pippa

Pippa

This week she is back home so we are staying at her house all week. Living in two places at once is fun but also complicated–I’m always forgetting something at one place or the other! If I seem scattered and out of touch, that’s why. :)

The LX Factory, Lisbon

We loved checking out this neighborhood/market area of Lisbon! It was such a refreshing, “real life” side of the city that we hadn’t expected to find. I stole the write-up from “You Should Go Here”.com :)

“In a tucked away corner of Lisboa, in the no-man’s land between the core of Lisboa and Belem, is the bustling new design and arts district, the cornerstone of which is the LX Factory. Set on movie-set looking ground of an old manufacturing district, the LX Factory is a great place to get away from the more tourist parts and hang out amid the design firms, production studios, restaurants and shops — all having a design-centered focus.”

The LX factory!

The LX factory!

The entrance!

The entrance!

Main street of the "Factory"

Main street of the “Factory”

I wanted to take home the red car…!

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Books, books, books!

Books, books, books!

“The cool thing is they didn’t gloss it up, but kept the place to its core history, with wonderful decay and industrial bones still in place.”

Fun home decor

Fun home decor

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Fun little store fronts.

Fun little store fronts.

Loved the ceramics.

Loved the ceramics.

Pinterest-world exists!

Pinterest-world exists!

Alex

Alex

Graffitti

Graffitti