Sometimes the stars align, and a gift you weren’t expecting drops out of the sky. That was this weekend in Istanbul!
Unexpected and completely wonderful, Nathan, Sahara, and Hunter flew to meet us for a weekend of Turkish delights. The sun was shining bright over the Bosphorus while we navigated our huge car down a twisting, cobbled street, to a small hotel in the old city that greeted us with tea and baklava. There were carpets and cafes covering the sidewalks, and rows and rows of stores selling towels, dishes, jewelry, leather, and so many sweets! In between the sites we played cards, sipped pineapple soda, ate Pringles on our terrace roof, and sampled some new wine grapes. We visited the spice bazaar and walked across bridges teaming with fisherman, and let ourselves be talked into buying way too much chewy pistachio delight. I bought a rug in Istanbul a few weeks ago, and I took Mike and the boys to see the shop, so they’ll know where it came from.
The kids petted lots of stray cats, looked for NPC’s, ate corn and stood in a long line for the Hagia Sofia, and tripped each other over and over again, while dodging crowds at the Topkapi Palace. The Blue Mosque was closed so there was no waiting in line for that, but there was lots of waiting while Nate accomplished his Mission Impossible: To go to Asia on the metro!
The kids were great sports, sipping tea and eating sugar cubes, laughing at the lady feeding seagulls with her fork, and only mildly acting like teenagers making fun of their fathers. Hunter kept me company shopping and playing cards, while the older kids watched Outer Banks. Is this what having a daughter is like? There was a giant parrot, a ferry ride, rooftop breakfast, afternoon tea, Apples to Apples, lots of laughing, and seriously the best doner kebab any of us have ever had. It was a weekend of cats on our laps and chocolate for breakfast, and no escape from “chicken chicken chicken chicken…” But words don’t really do it justice! So here is our weekend in pictures.
Day One: Hotel, Sultanahmet, Boat Trip, and the Spice Bazaar
Day Two: Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, Snacks, a weird ice cream guy, and a Really Big Dinner
Day Three: Grand Bazaar, Metro, ASIA!, some more cards and too much food.
And then it was time to go home, about 5 hours for each of us driving or flying, with bellies full of sweets, memories of warm hamams, and medleys of “chicken chicken chicken chicken” dancing through our heads. Thanks for coming to meet us Nate, it was a great weekend in Istanbul! We’re finally leaving Europe, after being in this time zone with you for the past 14 years, but I think with peas in a pod like these, there is no ocean wide enough to keep us apart. Somehow, even with the weirdly disparate lives we’ve lived, we managed to raise our children together. All of them oddball citizens of the world who have been to almost 40 countries, yet still go wild for Krispy Kremes and Arby’s at the mall food court. So yeah, here’s to being a family that’s average and amazing, and just about as perfect as can be.