Wednesday, August 22, 2012


"So if you've a date in Constantinople
She'll be waiting in Istanbul" - They Might Be Giants

We recently returned from a fun trip to Istanbul. There is a part of me that thinks it would be a good idea (for family history reasons and because a few of you might enjoy it) to blog about each day of the entire trip. BUT, the truth is that to do it justice would just take too much time and energy.

Instead, I'm going to share a few of the highlights and let the photos do the talking.

Our original plan was to spend about half the time in Istanbul and the other half in central Turkey. However, the overnight trains (with sleeping berths) out of Istanbul are currently not running due to maintenance and our other option was a 12+ hour bus ride. We decided a bus ride with four little kids was out of the question and opted to stay in Istanbul for the entire time. We do not regret our decision. Istanbul is a great city and we highly recommend a visit.

One of our goals was to escape the Dubai heat. Well, that didn't really work as planned. Although it was significantly cooler in Istanbul... significantly cooler than 115-120 degrees can still be in the high 90's. Plus,  everywhere you go in Dubai is air conditioned and you basically never go outside. In Istanbul we were outside constantly, walking everywhere we needed to go, and there was never any AC. So, while we beat the head, we were still hot and sweaty the entire time. Every picture we took includes shiny faces and sweaty matted hair.
A few Highlights:
  • The Blue Mosque - a most beautiful building inside and outside. Talon especially loved jumping off every raised platform he could find.
  • The Aya Sofya - I don't think there's too many kids in the world who have played "red light green light" and "mother may I?" inside this ancient and breathtakingly beautiful building.
  • The Basilica Cistern - The kids were fascinated by the story of Medusa and looking for the two carvings of her head in this underground creepy dark place.
  • Istanbul Archaeological Museums - All our kids wanted was to see dead bodies and this place delivered. There were lots of carvings of naked men and they wanted to know "Why did people steal all those men's pants?".
  • The several tombs of Sultans we visited and hearing the girls discuss how we should bury dad here when he dies.
  • The Prince's Islands - We took a tram and a ferry ride to get there. Talon was thrilled to ride the "train" and they loved the big boat as well. We sat by some fun Turkish teenagers that entertained our kids.
  • A Cinderella Ride - The best part of the prince's islands was the horse drawn carriage ride around the island (no cars allowed here only bikes, carriages, and feet). Sheer joy radiated from the girl's faces as they pretended they were just like Cinderella. The driver even let each of the kids sit on the horse beforehand (part of his sales tactic I'm sure and it worked on us)
  • Discovering every park and playground withing reasonable walking distance of our hotel - "reasonable varies depending on if you are an adult or a kid".
  • The sheer number of people who wanted to touch, hug, kiss, photograph and mug on our kids. No one in the US would touch a stranger's kids the way they do in the Middle East.
  • Our kids absolute refusal to look at our or any stranger's camera on request - even when the beautiful Turkish bride asked to be photographed with them. (we were lucky to get this)
  • The joy the kids got out of watching Turkish cartoons before bed every night (even when they couldn't understand a single word)
  • Watching Yvonne try to communicate with a group of Deaf teens she met in the park one afternoon
  • Talon's utter refusal to use a Turkish toilet and holding his pee the ENTIRE day everyday. (you'd think it would've been more a problem for the girls)
  • Splashing in the fountain in Sultanahmet Park and rinsing off in the German fountain next to the Blue Mosque
  • The cobblestone streets and beautiful old buildings
  • Friendly Turkish people
  • Trying new foods - this experience was pretty limited thanks to kids who were not very daring and felt a lot more safe with the security of McDonalds (not to mention their inexpensive ice cream).
  • Yvonne's Turkish Bath - She says "Let just say if you have anything against public nudity and being scrubbed down by a Turkish lady clad only in undies in a room full of other mostly naked women, this isn't for you. I thought it was HEAVENLY!"
  • Lots and lots of TOWERS. The kids were in Rapunzel heaven.

Well, there's the recap.  We had a lot of fun, even though it was hot and sweaty and the kids reminded us often that they do not like walking "so far". If you want photo overload, you can check out a bunch of adventure here:

1 comment:

  1. It looks like such a fun trip! I'm glad someone else's kids enjoy visiting tombs and dead bodies.