We took the day to relax on a ferryboat tour of the Bosphorus. An hour and a half up the strait, an hour and a half back down. In between the boat rides, I walked with students up a mountain to see the Yoros Castle (Yoros Kalesi). It was a trek, no doubt – sweaty and hot, no clouds to block the sun – and when we saw closed doors at the peak, I worried they would be disappointed. Almost ready to head back down, to relax with nargile by the water, I tried banging on the door a few times. A man opened it furtively. I begged him, in broken but desperate Turkish, to let the students in two explore. “Just two minutes!”
“In two minutes, I will lock this door and go to lunch. Two minutes!”
The students rushed past the door, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the thin strips of land that give shape to the Black Sea. Hundreds of ships, tiny like ants, waited their turn to pass into the Dardanelles. After a few minutes of jumping around and snapping group photos, we hustled out of the castle area, but continued to wander. Rufus, a stray dog, guided us down the mountain.
Perseverance, y’all – it pays off.