DAY 2

Setting out to explore the old city area Sultanahmet.. Today we take ‘the funicular’. It is a cable based tube system that connects the lower part of Istanbul to the higher one. It goes inside a sloping tunnel. Like most good public transport networks from the cities of the world the different modes are well connected through interchanges. We seamlessly move from funicar to the tram.. on the same card. Reaching the spacious and beautiful square with the beautiful blue mosque and The Hagia Sophia.

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I timetravel back to the first year history lessons in architecture.. only the true scale and magnificence of the masterpiece is evident only now. Hagia Sophia has a striking beautiful form and a grand space. More than 1500 years old and Testament to both Christianity and Islam, each element, the doorways, the mosaics, the calligraphy , all have stories to tell.
The most impressive sight however was at the altar  where the mother mary’s image in the mosaic is right above the prayer wall.. telling tales how the ottoman empire must have taken over the Byzantine.

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The dome is a huge 55 m high and 32 m dia.. and is flanked by names of the prophet on all four sides.

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Words are few to describe the building in its true glory. A must visit in a lifetime.. hopefully more than once 🙂

Intro to turkiah food

The very first names we came across.. intriguing fascinating and new.. were ayran ( its actually lipsmacking chhach) and kasar cheese , Simit bread (a round hard tea bread wirh sesame coating), Doner ( yes its the kebab), kofte(meatballs of course) helwa( yes its the halwa) , piyaz (bean salad), Gozleme( pan fried filo pastries with different fillings), borek(  flatbread with fillings). It was striking that some of the words were very familiar as these words of Turkish origin have made way into our language in India. Words lIke duniya, maidan, taaze, saade(plain) are present in Turkish language.
The food tradition of turkey seems quite rich. Google says its the third largest cuisine in the world(wondering which the first two are! Indian?  Am quite sure☺)
The four seasons experienced in turkey as well as its long history wirh roman byzantian and ottoman rules make its cuisine rich and varied. The breakfasts are mostly cold cuts with variety of cheese, variety of olives, dried fruit like apricots and cold cut breads.

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The street vendors mostly carry Simit bread and its varieties, corn on the cob-roasted /boiled and chestnuts. Of course I saw stuffed mussels too. Doner kebab shops are everywhere but of no use to me.  Being a vegeterian of course I hunted down my options. My fav was the Syrian falafel roll with their crispy donut shaped falafels and hummus.
Apart from this there is a rich variety of vegetable curries made in olive oil eaten with their tasty rice. I loved them.
The sweet I tried was Tahin Halvah.. sesame paste mixed with thick nuts and cereals. Interesting.
How could i miss out mentioning the Turkish tea.. in their special shaped glasses.
If this is just the intro…. and am so looking forward to explore more.

Vaccination time

This was the starting post of my blog and has been sitting in my system since then. While I was helping the girls calm down their anxiety, they helped me make this page on WordPress and I wrote my first post with a pic.
Here it goes on the post:

The girls sitting by my side are going crazy with the anticipation of the pin piercing their skin. #vaccination blues

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Bosphorous cruise

My trip to turkey was very good. Today we are in the cruise having lots of fun.In the cruise we first sat on the top floor but we were feeling cold so we came on the lower floor of the boat. It was closed with glass from every side.
We saw other boats and ships in the sea and the houses were looking like matchboxes. We had Oreo,coffee and doritoes. We had lot of fun. There were some women singing Turkish songs.

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There was a shop with lots of Turkish dresses. We could change and have fun getting photos.
We saw bridges which were very tall. We went to golden horn and then to the bosphorous bridge. Then we came back to the hotel. Thank you. –
First blog post by my dear son Manan.
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japanese classic…Orange.

I love feasting on the selection of movies from across the world wherever I can and when better than while on a flight.
This time chanced upon a japanese movie called ‘Orange’. A great watch indeed. The movie is about a young girl who recieves a letter from her future self, guiding and requesting her not to make the mistakes that she made so she doesn’t have to live in the same regrets.
The subject of friendship ,love ,positivity and the glimpse of japanese school life.. all put together, a story I thoroughly enjoyed. In fact asian cinema is amongst my most relished part of world cinema. I enjoy the cultural parallels and similar value systems unfold in a different setting.
Have quite a few more flights to come up on the trip and am totally looking fwd to catch some more gems like this one.

All set

Last minute is always infamous for sparking the creativity.. and trust me all kinds of questions and why didnt i think of it before kind of things are cropping up. This after having ‘finished’ packing for the kids last week and mine yesterday. And I thought.. last day will be a breeze this time. Nothing short of a whirlwind for a day.

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All said.. not bad actually for having sorted office work with review meetings by first half and some preening in the second. Brand new haircuts and tuck all tucked in… we are now ‘All Set’.

Time for a snooze coz waking up after a 3 hour sleep has never been easy I say…. isn’t it.