Turkish Delight

What a magical few days we had in Istanbul! We are so glad we didn’t cancel our trip, which we had considered in light of the terrible recent news. We were rewarded by the friendliest welcome from everyone we met and no lines anywhere, including al the best restaurants. For the Turk’s and the world’s sake, I hope the terrorism stops. Istanbul is too special of a place to miss. And it is even better now than the last time Ray and I visited twenty five years ago. The medieval co-exists with the modern like nowhere else I have been.  We stayed in the sweetest AirB&B apartment of a friend of our friends, Maria and Yaser, in a neighborhood on the edge of their and now our favorite neighborhood around Galata Tower.

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We had so many great views of the city, despite less than ideal weather – when I checked my phone Thursday morning the weather literally read, “dust.” But when we got outside, sure it was a little windy, but fortunately it was easy to breathe and see.

From our apartment….IMG_2257

 

From the ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side…

 

From the pier…

IMG_6110From Galata tower….

We spent a few hours one afternoon in Sultahamet, the old part of the city even though I told my mother we wouldn’t go there. (What’s the point of worrying, you, Mom!?!?) We arrived, felt so comfortable and safe and rationalized how random the bombings have been. Plus, Ray reassured me that all the bombs went off in the mornings. As Ray noted, the security was a bit of a joke with the shoe shiner in front doubling as the security guard and x-ray machines that a principal in the Bronx would laugh at but still, we didn’t want to miss these incredible sites – we might be 75 the next time we visit if we continue our pattern. Here is the amazing Hagia Sophia. I am proud that my grandfather worked as a laborer on the Empire State Building and always marveled that it went up in just one year. But I have to say even more impressive is that this incredible church turned mosque turned museum went up in five years 1500 years earlier!

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Photos of the outside of the Blue Mosque since it was prayer time and we weren’t allowed in even though Téa and I were covering our heads.

And the Grand Bazaar….

A few pictures of our incredible meals…

 

While the boys visited the Istanbul Modern Museum…

The girls went to the Hamam for a traditional Turkish bath. This experience alone is worth a trip to Istanbul (http://kilicalipasahamami.com).  We felt so relaxed and clean.

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Then we switched…

My college roommate Jill’s nephew, Sean, has lived and worked in Istanbul for four years. He was our unofficial tour guide – we basically visited and ate everywhere he suggested and felt like cool, hip locals. On our last night we met him for a drink at this sweet café. Fortunately they served delicious food, too, because we ended up ordering meze, then dinner then dessert as Sean shared his perspective on everything from Turkish politics to professional sports (He works for the Turkish version of the NBA.). I told him if he doesn’t write a “36 hours in Istanbul” column, I’m going to. Teşekkür ederim!IMG_6233

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