In our 8 years here, we've never taken a family trip to Istanbul, just 6 hours away by car. CC has been there a couple of times for conferences and as a team member to accredit another school. We have even taken Firstborn there for a weekend once, when CC went to a conference, so she and I tagged along. But we really wanted our kids to see Istanbul when they could appreciate the significance and history. We finally decided, "Hey, Big Ben is out of diapers, let's go!" At least our older three girls would be old enough to remember this experience. This past week was a 4 day holiday set aside for Muslims in this country to sacrifice animals. Our school was closed as it is a public holiday. School let out Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning we set out. CC made great time on the highway. But getting into the heart of the city reminded the two of us why we say, "Great place to visit, wouldn't want to live there." Bless you, Istanbul folks. We used a map book that Firstborn (also known as Templeton the Scavenger) had snagged from a freebie table at some point. I'd look up a street we were on, then CC would say, "We're three streets past that now, WHERE are we?!" He has an excellent sense of direction. I have no shame in rolling my window down and saying, in Turkish, "Big brother, what street is this?" And so we finally found our hotel. We settled in, then hit the streets knowing we had very limited time and much to see.In the picture above, Twinkle Toes is standing in front of the train used as inspiration for Agatha Christie's mystery novel Murder on the Orient Express and the movie based on it. We turned directly behind us and saw the window at which she sat as she wrote.
We decided not to take a stroller. In some places, especially the cobblestone streets, it is worse to have one. So, CC agreed to carry Big Ben. At 3 years old, he weighs what our first grader weighs. Bless him.
The night was cold. We hadn't had lunch. Everyone was so hungry. So we stopped at a little side street and had Iskender, a meal consisting of dimpled bread, covered with thinly sliced lamb, topped with a tomato sauce and thick yogurt. It's every bit as good as it sounds, especially when you are very hungry and cold.
After dinner, we headed back to our room. On the way home, I took this picture on one of Istanbul's old streets. I have had fun playing around with the pictures to give them different effects.This reminds me of Gotham City (Can you tell I have a son these days?)