Week 30 – A Turkish Welcome

March 17th to 23rd, 2014

A Small Miracle
In week 30, we continued to enjoy the wonders of Istanbul.

Istanbul, a universal beauty where poet and archeologist, diplomat and merchant, princess and sailor, northerner and westerner screams with same admiration. The whole world thinks that this city is the most beautiful place on earth. – Edmondo De Amicis

On day 205, we prepared to cruise the gleaming Bosphorus. So, with jackets for warmth, raincoats for wind protection and lunch to sate us, we set off on the nearby tram. On exiting we thought we would top up our Istanbulkarts which were running low on credit. We didn’t manage to get the English help button working but ran through the listed procedure.

Only when we had finished attempting to credit the second card, did we realise the transactions had not worked. For a moment we thought all might be lost but after asking the help of a nearby security guard our hope returned. We were amazed that with no proof but our explanation, he used his knowledge and personal mobile to call the transport office and spent almost a half hour helping us.

Gushing with thanks and with credited cards in hand, we headed elated to the ferry port in perfect time.

Either I conquer Istanbul or Istanbul conquers me. – Fatih Sultan Mehmet

For 25TL per adult and child over six (ie 75TL for our family) for a 180 min return public ferry ride, including a three hour stop at a Black Sea village, who could ask for better value? (Especially when you consider the huge prices charged by the swarming private tours).

Chatting in line to a friendly American couple, we were the second group to board and secured the best seats onboard – upper deck, outside, front and left. Who could not help appreciating the perfect weather, sweeping views, the on-board shop serving coffee in delicate white cups with saucers and the friendly company of fellow travellers. Superb.

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We were thrilled by our quiet time at Anadolu Kavağı. We avoided the overpriced seafood restaurants, preferring to spend time in the quiet back streets, admiring its humble homes and flowering gardens.

We were fascinated by the ruined hill-top fortress of seven towers on Yuşa Tepesi (Joshua’s Hill). Yoros castle was originally built by the Romans, then reconstructed by the Genoese in 1350, and repaired thereafter by the Byzantines and Ottomans. It was too dangerous for our boys to explore, so we did not climb it’s ancient stones.

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Yoros Kalesi

The boys played in the village’s playgrounds, and later we ate snacks at the local bufe (cafe), drank cay, licked ice-creams on the jetty and bought deep fried battered sardines from a local stall for the ride home.

 

Before riding the tram home we ate above the Galata bridge. A superb simple meal of mainly bean soup and bread. It had been a perfect adventure.

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We returned home happy, reflecting on our grand time in Istanbul.  The only small disappointment was to find our camera missing after exiting the Blue Mosque. We are happy to report that late on our last evening, we had a call from the Mosque and were relieved that our camera had been found! Thank goodness for small miracles.

So, on the morning of our departure from Istanbul, Graham enjoyed a solo walk across the Galata bridge, an expresso and swung by to pick up the camera before we caught the Metro Turizm bus to Luleburgaz.

Lovely Luleburgaz

Our time in Luleburgaz was wonderful, mostly due to the kindness showered on us by our couchsurfing host Dilek and her family. She made us feel welcome, let Graham drive, stuffed us full of wonderful food, cuddled our boys, gave us practical help and even helped us host an early surprise party for our Lucas. We felt warm and happy in her lovely home.

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We also saw the sights together including a day trip to Edirne.   At times a Roman city (Hadrianopolis), later Byzantine (Adrianopole), and finally the Ottoman capital before the fall of Constantinople (Istanbul), Edirne has passed through many hands, each of which has left their mark.   There we visited the mosque and small but fascinating museum, tried the traditional liver and kofte, plus enjoyed coffee under the warm spring sun by the Tunca river.

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We were pleased to also have a spectacular tour of the Efes Brewery.

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Out of the Mouths of Babes

Here are the boys comments on week 30.

Lucas

1. What is your happiest memory about our week in Luleburgaz? My pre-birthday surprise party! I have always wanted a surprise party.

2. One word to describe you would be _______. A tricky question… Intelligent!

3. What advice would you give your parents? Remember I’m a big boy and I can do stuff on my own.

4. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? I have always thought I would like to be many animals… um.. probably a lion, because they are very powerful!

5. What would you do with a million dollars? I would make an animal rescue center.

6. Tell us about a funny thing that happened in Luleburgaz? Mum spent a long time trying to get the lift to work while me and the boys just walked down the stairs.

7. What was your favourite thing to do there? Why? Build with blocks, because it was fun and we haven’t seen blocks for a while.

8. What is the best thing about our friends in Luleburgaz? They were very friendly and helpful.

9. What do you love most about your brothers? They have good ideas.

10. What was the nicest thing you did for someone in Luleburgaz? I helped Felix build a tower.

11. What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now? I will be roughly 19 then.. so, I will be looking for girls.

12. What has been your favourite thing about Turkey? How clean it is.

13. What do you think makes a person good-looking? The shape of their head.

14. Name two things we should do as a family. Spend time together and understand each other.

15. What is the grossest thing you can think of? A creature made of mud, diarrhoea, vomit and pee.

Reuben

1. What is your happiest memory about our week in Luleburgaz? It was because our couchsurfing friends really liked and helped us.

2. One word to describe you would be _______. Happy!

3. What advice would you give your parents? .. That’s a hard one..

4. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? Well, I choose to be a human, because I like being me.

5. What would you do with a million dollars? I would try to save the world from all pollution.

6. Tell us about a funny thing that happened in Luleburgaz? We played with balloons and one popped. Making funny sandwiches.

7. What was your favourite thing to do there? Why? I enjoyed eating the dark chocolate cake that Dilek made for us. It was yummy!

8. What is the best thing about our friends in Luleburgaz? It was nice of them to share their toys with us.

9. What do you love most about your brothers? They are good friends.

10. What was the nicest thing you did for someone in Luleburgaz? I helped pack up toys.

11. What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now? I will be 16! I will be thinking about getting my drivers licence.

12.What has been your favourite thing about Turkey? It’s eating toasted cheese and salami sandwiches.

13. What do you think makes a person good-looking? Their clothing.

14. Name two things we should do as a family. Do teamwork and get educated.

15. What is the grossest thing you can think of? Probably, out of anything… eating boogers!

Felix

1. What is your happiest memory about our week in Luleburgaz? I liked Lucas’s surprise party.

2. One word to describe you would be _______. Happy!

3. What advice would you give your parents? Not much because they do a good job.

4. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? A bird cos I can fly.

5. What would you do with a million dollars? I would save the world from pollution.

6. Tell us about a funny thing that happened in Luleburgaz? We watched funny cartoons together. I found a ladybird.

7. What was your favourite thing to do there? Why? Have Lucas’s party. It was fun.

8. What is the best thing about our friends in Luleburgaz? They made lots of nice food for us.

9. What do you love most about your brothers? cos they let me have a turn and stuff.

10. What was the nicest thing you did for someone in Luleburgaz? I helped mummy hang out the washing.

11. What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now? I haven’t decided yet.

12.What has been your favourite thing about Turkey? Feeding the Hamster.

13. What do you think makes a person good-looking? Being cute – like me.

14. Name two things we should do as a family. Work as a good team and help each other.

15. What is the grossest thing you can think of? Poop!

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So it was with heavy hearts that we left Lulebergaz. With a tear in our eyes and a huge parcel of packed food thrust into our hands, we boarded the 9.30am bus for the six hour bus and ferry ride to Canakkale…

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2 comments

  1. Hi, l’m Heidi – we met in Selcuk at the Mosque… l am sure, you have more such nice impressions as you wrote/told about – wherever you are traveling. Take care and enyoy – God bless you. Heidi

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    1. Thanks Heidi. Yes we remember. We look forward to keeping in touch and learning about your ex-pat life. Thanks for your kind comment and reading our blog. We hope you continue to follow our travels.

      Like

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