Last weekend the kids and I went to Istanbul to meet my mom, step-dad, two brothers and their better halves where they started their travels around Turkey. I couldn’t imagine much of Turkey was super toddler-friendly, so we joined them at the part we thought would be best. It turned out great. Simon loves lamb koftas and Jonah loves stray street cats. Everybody wins! (Except the Muslims who had to see me inappropriately dressed) Three days were not nearly long enough, but it was enough to be reminded how much fun it is to be around my family and how magical a city Istanbul is. I could go back many times. Even this trip was the second for most of us. We went in 2006 after my mom and half-Turkish step-dad married on the Greek Island of Rhodes. Then this past weekend we stayed at the same Istanbul hotel 6 years later because: look at the view from the roof terrace during breakfast and sunset! It’s like CGI in person.
Josh dropping knowledge in Sultanahmet about Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque and my bros singing a song Jonah loved with only the following lyrics: “Mosque and a minaret Mosque and a minaret Mosque and a minaret…”
Grand Bazaar and Spice Market
A night out at 5.Kat and walking Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue
Outside the Spice Market: Famous fish sandwiches -balik ekmek-, fisherman and the Galata Bridge
Mom and her babies
Dinner out in Ortakoy
At Suleymaniye Mosque
Mom and I took the kids out on the Bosphorus
A theme of the weekend was trying to procure a stroller for Jonah. Victory!
I have never, ever been anywhere else in the world where people freaked out so much at our kids. I don’t know if it’s the blond hair or blue eyes or just generally that Turkish people adore children, but it was kind of amazing. We could never walk one block without random cafe workers and passerby pinching their cheeks and making a fuss. I do love the people there.
Traveling alone with the two kids was more manageable than I anticipated. Jonah watched the iPad constantly and Simon punched the backs of people’s seats in coach and there was always the kindness of strangers to fall back on. Swiss Air is an impeccably clean airline with friendly staff and gives toys to the kids and serves a hot meal even on an hour-long flight. What what?! Most importantly, both the Zurich and Geneva airports have children’s play areas that we used during the layovers. In Geneva it had a full, enclosed nursery. Switzerland is officially my new favorite place on Earth.