My school invited all of the teaching and office staff – foreign and local – for breakfast on Büyükada, the largest of the Princes’ Islands.
Originally a place of exile for Byzantine princes, the islands later became a popular place for Turkish, Greek, Armenian and Jewish families to build their summer homes. Just 20 km southeast of the city, the islands are served by ferry and make an easy day trip.
No cars are permitted, so the twenty of us travelled by horse-drawn carriage to our destination: a restaurant overlooking the Sea of Marmara. After breakfast we hiked up a cobblestone path to the highest point on the island, which is also the site of the Monastery of St. George. We then walked down bougainvillea lined roads, past gorgeous summer villas (some in mint condition and some crumbling into the sea), all the way back to the port.
We took the ferry back to the Asian side of Istanbul and were back at school in time for our evening classes. It was great way to get to know new coworkers and a great day out.