The surprise trip (again!): Istanbul

My surprise trip to Japan was a big success.

To feed my travel instinct and all the hectic schedules I have right now; I plan to go somewhere close and yet interesting.

Don’t push me to explore West Europe!

I want something eclectic, intriguing.

This trip must also accommodate the needs of my husband, my eldest son, my 3.5 months baby and I (of course!).

One thing for sure, we all crave for sunshine (and good food!)

***

There’s always an initial plan hahaha…have you not known me, really!?

I really wish to visit Athene to complete my ancient history trail. But then I checked the flight ticket, it was almost €400/person.

We’re planning to visit Indonesia anytime around this year, so spending too much on a week (or less) vacation was simply irrational.

Istanbul came as my second option because:

a. The flight ticket is affordable (less than €150)

b. The hotels are relatively cheap and spacious.

c. The city has lots of history, good food and the chance of warm weather is relatively big.

For less than a week I arranged this trip, a little bit gambling since my baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. We are all very tired and mommy needs a Spring break.

Bismillahirrahmanirrahim…

I booked everything and as the time of departure was coming closer, I was unsure if we could make it.

The eldest was a bit sick. The baby is still awake at night. I’m tired, my husband is also tired.

And at that time, The Netherlands and Turkey has also a political conflict.

What more can I add to the list to reassure that this trip is so impossible.

There’s a moment when I wanted to cancel it. But my Man said no; WE CAN MAKE IT! Let’s go on holiday!

***

In the morning of our departure; I was so nervous. Can we make it, really?

If there’s a will, there’s a way. I remember a quote “fear brings you nowhere”.

So Bismillah…we ran for our lives to the gate and flew to Istanbul!

***

So many questions about Istanbul come to me. Is it a child friendly city? Is it expensive? Is it safe to travel there? How do I like Istanbul? etc.

Well, I usually well prepared every time I travel but this time not. I actually don’t have enough time to gather information about this city trip.

The only thing I did is to book a shuttle taxi from the airport to the hotel.

My first impression of Istanbul is really bad. It’s just a packed city with a dirty outlook. I was quite disappointed at that time. A friend of mine reassured me, it’s a wonderful city and she likes it very much.

The next day I walked almost 5KM to explore the new and old city and I was mesmerized and simply speechless for what I have seen.

I literally had no single word to even describe it at first.

You ask me what I think about Istanbul now??? IT’S MARVELOUS! Beyond gorgeous.

I have never seen a city that as complete as Istanbul.

The city is so poetic!

I saw the old face of Cairo in it, I saw the character of Rome in it, I saw the elegance of Paris in it and I saw the glory of the city along the strait.

Istanbul is feast for the eyes. It’s West Europe in one place.

Is it an expensive city like Paris and Amsterdam? NO, definitely not. You’ll feel a bit like a millionaire here

A 30 minutes taxi ride cost only €10-€15. A bottle of water cost less than €0,50. Amazing!

Istanbul is a child friendly city too. There are parks and good pedestrian ways. Most of the public toilets are equipped with baby changing board. Even in the toilet on fast food restaurants.

Istanbul has also a good public transportation, which you can easily travel from one side of the city to another. Especially in the old city, close to the Sultan Ahmet area, where no private cars and motorcycles allow to enter. It makes walking really comfortable.

The only problem is the hilly part of the city. It’s very hilly and sometimes very steep. But that what makes Istanbul really special.

At the time I was there, Istanbul is safe regardless of everything you see or hear on the news. There are indeed many police officers, gun loaded armies and tanks. But Alhamdullilah, I have no single problem there.

***

To those who will travel here with kids, I suggest you to:

A. Fly with a full service airlines like KLM or Turkish Airlines. Pick a morning flight after 9 am. And wear cotton clothes! Atatürk Airport is hot. Literally HOT!

B. Pack your bags with enough diapers, medicine, clothes and SNACKS! Turkish people don’t speak enough English. Basic English is understood but yeah…further you’ll be lost in translation.

C. Beware of scamming. It’s everywhere. Avoid empty taxi on the street side. Preferably order a taxi using UBER app. Even the shoe polish man do a trick to fool you.

D. Don’t do too much, one or two sightseeing a day is enough. Kids need to rest. My trick was to get out around 09:30 until 16:00 and let the kids sleep until 19:00. And then we go out again until 22:00 or something. I don’t change the clock for a short gateway.

E. Follow your children’s mood.

F. It is best to stay in the hotel around old city but the Taksim and Kabatas area are also very recommended.

G. Book a 4 or 5* hotel. They’re affordable and very spacious. Kids are easily entertained here. Remember! A happy kids make a happy parents. You don’t want to ruin your hoilday, do you?

H. Always drink from a sealed bottle (even for washing baby stuffs).

I. To avoid queue at touristic places, take a tour. You pay only €10-€15 extra for it.

J. People in Istanbul love kids. They will try to hold them or touch them. If you don’t like it, say it clearly.

H. Topkapi Palace disallow parents to bring stroller. This was one of the reasons I skipped this place.

***

Yes. That is all I can say for now. Istanbul is an attractive city. I recommend you to visit this city. The cultures are perfectly blend here. You’ll also see the European-Turkish (with blue eyes and blond hair) and the Asian-Turkish (looks a bit Mongolian and Arabian).

***

The history of the city will leaves you speechless. It’s grandiose. You’ll see it when you are there.

***

The conclusion of this trip is make the best of your time in Istanbul. 5 days is not enough.

Istanbul can hypnotize you with its charm.

Furthermore, this trip has proved that you can travel with small kids as long as you can work together with your partner. It’s not impossible. You just need to be open and expect for the unexpected.

Let loose!! You need to loosen up a lil bit hahahaha.

Ciao!

Na’

Published by

Mademoiselle Na'

A mother of two boys who loves to travel and to cook. Wishing to complete her Islamic Trail journey anytime soon.

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