Friday, October 26, 2012

Sights of the Big City

Vacation is such a lovely thing.  It is even more lovely when you've been living overseas for 10 months and family come visit.  We loved seeing the familiar faces of family.  Matt's mom, dad and brother were able to come and spend 10 days with us.  What a blessing! They were able to see/meet their new grandson and nephew, as well as, have lots of playtime with Harper.  We loved having the extra hands, and Harper loved all the playtime. While most of our time was spent talking, catching up and playing, we were able to show them some of the sights of Istanbul.

Istanbul is one of the top ten international destinations.  This city is absolutely HUGE. We have been here three times now extending over eight weeks total and have yet to see everything.  Dare I say, maybe not even half of what there is to see.  We were able to show them most of the touristy attractions, as well as, take them to some of our favorite restaurants (non-Western!).  It was fun to show them around and try to communicate what little we know in Turkish to survive.  It was a little bit of a challenge having a six week old, but we all willingly opted for rest times when we went out.  We gave us all rest days in between big touristy days.  We are so glad that they were able to come.  It was fun and we hope to meet up again for the next vacation summer 2014.  

Istanbul Fast Facts:
  • Istanbul is the only city in the world that spans across two continents, Europe and Asia.  Most people think of it as Asia, but actually the most historic part is on the European side.
  • Although it was the capital of some of the most important empires in the world: Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman; Istanbul is not Turkey's capital.  Ankara is the country's capital.
  • The population of Istanbul is around 12 million.
  • The Blue Mosque is the only mosque in the city with 6 minarets and stands directly across from Hagia Sophia.

Here are a few pictures from our trip and the sights of Istanbul.

Rumeli Kale Cafe: The BEST breakfast (Kavalta) in all of Istanbul. 

Did someone say bread, kaymak (cheese) with honey, more bread, and more cheese (fried cheese even)?! YUM!!!

 My international daughter drinking her tea (chai).

In front of Rumeli Fortress.  This is a cool place to explore, but be careful because there are no handrails.  

 Harper and her Peepaw on the ferry boat.

 The Kiddos and HH

A Catholic Church on famous Istiklal Avenue.

Eating at a traditional Turkish restaurant for lunch on Istiklal Avenue.

Bryan enjoying his tea.  You always have tea after every meal.

A lady rolling out Gozleme, a traditional Turkish cuisine.  It is most similar to a tortilla filled with potatoes, chesse, spinach, or meat, etc.

The Grand Bazaar.  It is quite grand.  My senses are always on overload in this place, but I get a high from it too.  I can't make quick decisions in here, that's for sure.
Matt and Bryan

From the ferry.

AHHH!!!  Look at all those beautiful Turkish plates.  I have started a Turkish plate collection.  I got my first one from this store!  Now, if I can only remember how to get back there!

Harper & Uncle Bryan

Uncle Bryan & Harper having fun drinking tea at sunset.

Istanbul from Chamlija.  The overlook on the Asian side.

Harper & Meemaw

The Blue Mosque from the ferry at sunset.  Gorgeous.

The back side of Hagia Sophia.

The weekly local produce bazaar (market).

Anyone want some fish?!

Meemaw and Elias

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