Posts tagged ‘Istanbul’

It’s Go Time for Cael Sanderson at World Wrestling Championships

Cael Sanderson graces the cover of USA Wrestling's world championships media guide. His opponent in in trouble here.

So it’s time for Cael Sanderson to take his comeback to the next level and attempt to do something he’s never done before—win a gold medal at the world wrestling championships.

He’s already won the U.S. World Team Trials after a seven-year layoff, and he dominated in his first international tournament since the 2004 Olympics. The worlds, which are being held in Istanbul, Turkey, started earlier this week with Greco-Roman and women’s events preceding the freestyle, and the hype has been building.

Check out this cover story from Wednesday’s USA Today, which mentions both his competitive success and his success coaching Penn State. It’s also worth clicking on this Des Moines Register link for a slide show of Sanderson’s Iowa State years, which includes a photo of Sanderson with some of his drawings (No. 4), a bobblehead that looks nothing like him (No. 14), and a posed shot with Iowa coach Tom Brands (No. 33).

Sanderson is considered the favorite at 185 pounds … by the Americans, at least. As this survey of international wrestling journalists shows, he’s not the consensus favorite. The Iranian writer picked the wrestler from Uzbekistan, for instance, and the Japanese journo likes the Russian. (And that’s how the U.S. writers tend to refer to wrestlers from other countries, by their nationalities. I keep wondering if Sanderson is known outside our borders as “The American.”) And it’s worth noting that Sanderson never dominated internationally the way he did in the U.S. The 2010 world champion, Bulgaria’s Mihail Ganev, is also in the field, and “the Uzbek,” Zaurbek Sokhiev, won the 2009 world title. (more…)


September 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm 1 comment

Hey Lady! Guidebook! Only One Lira!

No matter where we go in Turkey, one thing is a constant: Someone is always trying to sell us something. Most of the major sights—whether it’s the Blue Mosque in Istanbul or the ruins at Ephesus—have vendor stands nearby, where you can buy things like evil eyes (a Turkish amulet intended to ward off evil spirits) and scarves and key chains.

Even when we get off the bus in some relatively rural location, like the ruins of the Temple of Diana in the town of Selçuk, vendors appear out of nowhere bearing guide books, strips of postcards (“One lira, one lira”), old coins, and wooden flutes. They are very persistent—you can shake your head “no” and they’ll still follow you as you keep walking.

(The photo above is of one of the Penn State travelers, Carol Buettger ’58, doggedly attempting to ignore a postcard vendor at the Temple of Diana ruins.)

At dinner at an outdoor café along the waterfront in Izmir the other night, we saw strolling vendors hawking everything from (more…)

May 9, 2011 at 9:24 am 1 comment

Greetings from Istanbul


One of many instances of Byzantine art preserved on the walls and ceilings of Chora Church in Istanbul.

We’re here! Eighteen other Penn Staters and I have arrived in Istanbul for the start of our “Legendary Turkey” trip. Some of us have a little sightseeing under our belts already, while others are just thrilled to have finally gotten here.

It’s a nine-hour flight from JFK, and some of the Penn State travelers first had to fly from their homes in Florida, Massachusetts, and elsewhere to JFK. The weather on the East Coast was a mess on Thursday and Friday, and flight delays caused some of our gang to miss their connections. So some of the travelers have spent a lot of time on airplanes and in airports in the past 48 hours—but they all seem cheerful about it and happy to be here.

A dozen of us who were able to get to Istanbul on Friday morning took advantage of an unscheduled first day to head over to the Chora Church—also called the Kariye Mosque or Chora Museum—in the city’s Edirnekapı region. (That’s OK, I can’t pronounce it either.) We got an unexpected bonus when (more…)

April 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm 1 comment

Istanbul, Here I Come


An Istanbul photo by Dick Osseman. See more of his terrific photos at

In two days—assuming I ever finish packing—I’m off to Istanbul, the start of what looks to be an amazing Alumni Association trip to Turkey.


A mosaic from the Chora Museum. Click to see larger version. (Dick Osseman photo)

Eighteen Penn State travelers and I will arrive on Friday in Istanbul, where we’ll spend the first three days of the more-than-two-week trip called “Legendary Turkey.” Our tour director from Odysseys Unlimited, Gökhan Özağaçli (whose name I have not yet figured out how to pronounce), will meet us at the airport and deliver us to our hotel, and after that we have the first day to ourselves.

We briefly debated just staying in our hotel rooms that first day and watching the royal wedding on TV, but instead we’re going to go as a group on an excursion to a site called the Chora Museum.

(OK, I was kidding about the royal wedding thing. That was (more…)

April 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm 2 comments

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