Istanbul Trip 2013: Day 5 and 6

31 May 2013

Pagi2 lepas breakfast we went to Grand Bazaar. Stores opened at 8.30am so we were among the first few customers. The plan was to spend 1/2 day there and get some lunch and balik hotel rest while tunggu Gee balik solat. It’s a Friday so the guys went for their prayers at the Blue Mosque. Sepatutnya we wanted to go Taksim Square and Galata Tower in the evening tapi hati tergerak macam malas pulak. Rupanya ada hikmah di sebalik kemalasan itu. There was a riot going on after Friday prayers in that area. Fuhh nasib baik tak pegi sana. Our area was not affected and kawasan kitaorang Sultanahmet was calm je takde masalah.

This is one the many entrances of Grand Bazaar. There are over 4000 shops inside! Memang akan sesat. Tapi to ensure we come out from the same door, kitaorg mark shops along the way so bila nak baik tu cari balik the shops and trail to the exit. Fuhh mencabar tapi berkesan!

This is one the many entrances of Grand Bazaar. There are over 4000 shops inside! Memang akan sesat. Tapi to ensure we come out from the same door, kitaorg mark shops yang standout along the way so bila nak balik tu cari balik the shops and trail to the exit. Fuhh mencabar tapi berkesan!

Us in front of the Grand Bazaar. Orang kedai tolong amikkan gambar ni. LEpas tu dia promote suruh masuk kedai dia kat tepi tu.

Us in front of the Grand Bazaar. Orang kedai tolong amikkan gambar ni. Lepas tu dia promote suruh masuk kedai dia kat tepi tu. Sian IY kena pakai long sleeve dalam panas sebab masa ni rashes dia dah mengganas. Kena cover2 sikit takut orang freak out!

Lepas lunch we walked around and went to AyaSofya and Blue Mosque area again. Tak puas bergambar masa dengan Emine haritu plus it was a bit crowded. We saw a group of birdies being fed kat Dataran Hippodrome tu. The boys were estatic! Bayar 1Lira for the bird food and the boys went on tabur2 kasi burung makan. Suka nye mereka! Especially little Z yang tak takut langsung. Bila dedak tu habis they went to the lady seller for more. Amboi anak…itu bukan free ye!

This is Ayasofya from the front. People berpicnic sunbathing kat lawn depan tu. Anjing2 besar juga merata ber-sunbathing jugak chillaxing! Seriau mommy! Ada fountain behind me (not in picture).

This is Ayasofya from the front. People berpicnic sunbathing kat lawn depan tu. Anjing2 besar juga merata2 ber-sunbathing chillaxing! Seriau mommy when Z kept pointing “mama, woff woff!!”. And ada big fountain behind me (not in picture) in between Ayasofya and The Blue Mosque.

US in front of AyaSofya. Panas betul masa ni. See the dog on the left? Lepak-ing much? LOL!

Us in front of AyaSofya. Panas betul masa ni. Abang was not well. He kept complaining penat malas jalan. Adik pulak lasak bukan main lagi. Tak nak duduk stroller tak nak pegang tangan bila jalan. Oh btw, see the dog on the left? Lepak-ing much? LOL!

Bird feeding

Bird feeding

This boy sure had so much fun running around the area.

1 June 2013

Checkout time at 12pm. Sempat lagi singgah menyinggah to get last minute stuff. By 1pm we were at the airport already boarding in. Punya la ramai manusia di sana! Sempat solat and lunch tapi kelam kelibut jugak la. Nasib baik the boarding gate tak jauh so no Amazing Race moment happened.

The flight home was more challenging. It’s still daytime and the boys were at the peak of their energy! Huwarghhh! Mencabar kesabaran mommy ni haa! Z kept roaming around up and down the aisle macam dia steward pulak. I think one of the steward was pissed off with my boy sebab kacau laluan dia nak tolak trolley and whatnot. I was pissed off too with him like you tak biasa pulak dapat passenger budak ligat macam ni. Sabar la sikit. He was like giving me “the-look” and say “puan, tolong tengok anak puan ni ye”. Like Hello!! What do you think I’m doing sir? Studying the map on the screen izzit? Or checking which F.R.I.E.N.D.S episode I wanna watch? Luckily tak lama sangat Z buat hal, he became sleepy and slept all the way home.

Stroller lunyai dikerjakan budak 20kg ni + shopping stuff but very much worth it! If you are with kids silalah bawak stroller. Though the cobblestone were quite challenging to work with. Really, it’s a saver.

So that’s it! I’m done with this travelogue.

-Pu3-

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Istanbul Trip 2013: Day 4

30 May 2013

On Day 4 we went to Princess Island. It’s an one-hour ferry ride to this small island. Here there are no cars or other vehicle except for ambulance police bomba etc. People ride bikes or just walk. We took a horse carriage ride pusing satu pulau. Had lunch and we headed back to the city. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Emine, went back to the hotel to rest a little bit. After Asar, we went out on our own jalan2 to Grand Bazaar and look for dinner.

Nothing much to story. Or more like dah habis holiday mood kot. LOL! So layan pictures je k?

Our ferry to the little island. Ramai orang bersesak jugak masa nak naik ni.

Our ferry to the little island. Ramai orang bersesak masa nak naik ni. Geram pun ada gak. Macam la ferry tu nak tinggalkan dia. Rumah kat pulau ni mostly are the summer residence of the locals.

Viewa at the island. Here and there. IT's summer so ramai je yang berpicnic and ber BBQ

Views at the island. Here and there. It’s summer so ramai je yang berpicnic and ber BBQ. I was searching for pictures orang picnic and BBQ tapi takde pulak. Semua gambar scenery je kitaorg amik.

Our lunch spot

Our lunch spot

Turkish ice cream

Turkish ice cream. The platter on the left was my dad’s. He ordered the different kind ada baklava siap on the sides. I’m not too adventurous when it comes to eating so vanilla and choc is fine with me. Turkish ice cream is somewhat different in texture. Taste lebih kurang sama. Remember the one Lisa had in the movie? The one with the magic show tunggang terbalik ice cream tu. Haa this is the one. Just that ours were served without any show la. My sis bought one with the show on our first day. Tapi tak sempat nak Keek when the guy did it.

On our horse ride

On our horse ride. Perasan tak ada bump on Z’s forehead? Budak bertuah ni jatuh kat hotel and benjol sudah. Abang IY masa ni dah start lemau. He had fever at the end of this 4th day and rashes started coming out already. Mommy cuak!

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Turkish men loved Z. Ke mana kami pergi Z was very popular. So was abang IY (particularly because his name is Ilhan–a common Turkish name). The Turks ni style kalau suka budak bukan main agah2 cuit2 je tapi sampai angkat letak atas riba, gomoi2 peluk kiss lagi. This guy bought Z the Turkish gasing. We were sitting beside him in the ferry. Baik sungguh. See Z’s expression. Amboi tak agak2 anak mama ni beriya tunggu pakcik ni pilih colour.

Day 5 and 6 kita combine nanti la ye. Huwarghhh…bila la tu. Semakin lama semakin lemau dah ni nak menulis. But for memory sake kan..I will finish this. I will.

-Pu3-

Istanbul Trip 2013: Day 3

29 May 2013

I have to say this was the most tiring day of all. Because it’s a walking day tour. We walked to almost everywhere. The distance from our hotel to these places was about 5-10 mins je.

The Hippodrome

Masa sampai sini, Emine started telling us the history of the place. I couldn’t concentrate because my boys sudah start excited melihat kawasan yang begitu luas untuk dijelajahi! My dad, uncle and bro were listening intently. Me and Gee on the other hand sudah sibuk mengejar anak. There were sellers here and there trying to sell us stuff too. We gave in finally and bought a Turkish gasing for IY.

The square

Walking towards the Hippodrome square. During the good old days, it was a place of sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Dia macam satu dataran yang besar. Ayasofya and Blue Mosque are just next to it.

Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque (or also known as Sultanahmet Camii by the locals) is a historical mosque in Istanbul. It is known as “Blue Mosque” because of the blue tiles surrounding the walls of the interior design. The mosque was built between 1609 and 1616 during the rule of Sultan Ahmed 1.

The queue to enter the mosque was long but fast moving. Strollers were not allowed so Gee stayed behind with Z outside. One interesting thing about Istanbul is we saw dogs everywhere. As many as cats. Type yang besar2 pulak tu macam German Shephard or askar polis kita tu. But they were very calm and jinak. Tido baring je. Even dalam perkarangan Blue mosque tu ada sekor dua tengah relax tido. The first time nampak, we were nervous takut dia terjah kita ke apa. But Emine assured us that the dogs are okay. Tak kacau orang. Cumaaaa saya risau anak saya yang kacau dia!

While lining up to enter the mosque

While lining up to enter the mosque. The sleeping dog was beside us

Once dah masuk, kena bukak kasut and masuk dalam plastic ni. Carry your own shoes inside. The green robes are for ladies to cover up

Once dah masuk, kena bukak kasut and masuk dalam plastic. Carry your own shoes inside. The green robes are for the ladies to cover up

Inside the mosque. We were not allowed to enter the praying area. They put a bar (see behind me).

Inside the mosque. Cantik sangat! We were not allowed to enter the praying area. They put a barricade (see behind me) to separate the areas. This is an active mosque so bila masuk waktu solat, visitors are not allowed to go in. Kecuali kalau nak solat lah. Gee, Dad, Uncle and Bro went for their Friday prayers here on our 5th day. Khutbah in Turkish of course. Alhamdulillah, such an experience for them

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

see him guling2

Tengok la tu! Guling2 atas carpet buat macam rumah sendiri. The carpet is covered with plastic on top. Still, the next day IY got the rashes all over his body. We were lucky ada pharmacist depan hotel for the meds supply. He was prescribed with calamine lotion and antihistamine syrup. I bought Seba Med body wash and cream at the supermarket. He was fever-ish too but I brought PCM from home already. We were nervous if the rashes tu tak hilang and airport salah faham measles pulak! But luckily it subsided by the time nak balik Malaysia. Phew!

Topkapi Palace

Keluar mosque kita masuk Topkapi Palace pulak. Topkapi Palace is a very large palace in Istanbul. It was the primary residence of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years of their 624-year reign. Another famous palace was the Dolmabahce Palace tapi yang tu we didn’t go. But we saw from outside masa naik Bosphorus cruise. Manusia punyala ramai! It was the peak summer tourist season. No wonder lah kan.

Inside the palace. more buildings inside and each has it's own story

Inside the palace. Lepas masuk ikut main entrance pintu gerbang there were more buildings inside and each has its own functions. We were told that at one time the whole palace can accommodate up to 4000 people! Imagine how big is that!

Topkapi Palace entrace

Topkapi Palace entrance

Strollers were also not allowed inside the buildings. Z was sleeping so we hang out kat luar palace courtyard je layan amik picture while the rest of the family masuk tengok tinggalan sejarah. Among the stuff they got to see were the robes of the sultans, pedang Nabi Muhammad S.A.W and other holy relics di zaman kegemilangan empayar Islam dulu. Tu yang beratur panjang orang masuk nak tengok tu.

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See that lady in black with the camera smiling at us? She was observing IY from afar when IY was playing around with our camera. She came to us and took his picture. Pastu dia cakap IY cute! IY went to take her picture pulak. Haha! Rajin minah salleh tu layan IY. Siap swap camera and they took pictures of each other. I was pretty nervous when she handed her super bulky pro camera to him. Gee siap tanya “are you sure?”. Nasib baik takde apa berlaku di luar jangkaan, kalau takkk…sekali lagi tak balik la kami nak bayar hutang. *nangesss*.

She took this picture of us

She took this picture of us. That orange thing in Z’s hand is the Turkish gasing I was telling about. Berebut main 2 beradik! Last2 kena beli sorang satu.

Ayasofya

It used to be a church during the Constantinople years. When the Ottoman Turks conquered Istanbul it was turned into a mosque. Later when Turkey became a Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk instructed for it to become a museum. As we entered the building, we could see tinggalan sejarah that reflected an image of a church. Still ada painting image of Maryam, Nabi Isa (a.s) and detailing dia memang still very church-ish. When we entered the main area, baru nampak ALLAH MUHAMMAD signs and kalimah suci Al-Quran on the ceiling and walls. Sungguh cantik Subhanallah!

Inside of Ayasofya. One of the pictures nampak ada scaffolding kat tepi. That part is closed for restoration. Dalam ni boleh pakai kasut and bawak stroller. Its only function is just for visits and bukan untuk solat.

Inside of Ayasofya. One of the pictures nampak ada scaffolding kat tepi. That part is closed for restoration. Dalam ni boleh pakai kasut and bawak stroller. Its only function is just for visits and bukan untuk solat.

We were almost done for the day. But not until singgah sebentar kat Grand Bazaar for some shopping experience! We didn’t shop menggila. Just the basic tourist-y common stuff like fridge magnets, tshirts and stuff.

I wanna finish my Istanbul entries sebelum my travelling mojo is gone! Nanti lupa pulak details satu2 apa nak cerita. I didn’t jot down apa2 pun sepanjang kat sana. My writings are all based on what I remember when I see my pictures. And little bit of Wiki if I don’t remember the history facts.

After Grand Bazaar we head back to the hotel. Walking. Memang dekat sangat hotel. Again, we were knackered to the bone. After solat, we all keluar balik to get dinner. Tapau je balik bilik. I can’t remember what we ate. I think it was Burger King. Haha..baru hari ketiga dah lemau tengok kebab and doner.

Ok next up is Day 4. Stay tuned!

-Pu3-

Istanbul Trip 2013: Day 2

28 May 2013 (dad’s birthday!)

Day 2 started early. We had breakfast at 7am. Emine came to the hotel to pick us up at 9am. While waiting for her, we had a stroll around the block amik angin pagi.

Budak ni makan coco pops,salami and breadstick cicah nutella. Kasi tu je hidup la dia. The hotel breakfast spread were not as lavish and scrumptious like Malaysian hotel, but it's not bad. Peach juice dia fresh and sedap. It was my fav among all.

Budak ni makan coco pops with milk, ratah salami and breadstick cicah nutella. Kasi tu je hidup la dia. He’s not the type who likes to try new food. Unlike little Z who nganga to everything we suap. If tak suka baru dia spit it out. Si IY ni pulak jangankan rasa, bau pun pun tak nak kalau tak kena di mata dia. The hotel breakfast spread was not as lavish and scrumptious like Malaysian hotels, but it’s not bad. Peach juice dia fresh and sedap. It was my fav among all

The hotel ada free wifi. So kitaorang pulun la berFB, berIG segala masa kat hotel. I bought the data plan only during our first day and last day je (sebab masa last tu berpecah and we had to communicate with each other

The hotel ada free wifi. So kitaorang pulun la berFB, berIG, berinternet segala masa kat hotel. I bought the data plan only during our first day and last day je (sebab masa tu everyone berpecah jalan2 sendiri and we had to communicate with each other). I’m a Maxis-an so kena manually select telco Turkey named AVEA. It’s RM38 per day unlimited usage

Jalan2 round the block. Bentuk mukabumi kat sini is very berbukit (remember Lisa running in heels naik bukit turun bukit in the movie?). Bayangkan we had to tolak stroller jalan kat sini/dukung anak naik jalan ni! Whoaa! I lost 1kg during this holiday. Syok tapi seksa!

Jalan2 round the block. Bentuk mukabumi kat sini is very berbukit (remember Lisa running in heels naik bukit turun bukit in the movie?). Bayangkan we had to tolak stroller jalan kat sini/dukung anak naik jalan ni! Dah la jalan dia jenis cobblestone macam tu. Whoaa! I lost 1kg during this holiday hasil tolak stroller and dukung Z most of the time. Suka tapi seksa!

Our first destination for the day was Camlica Hill. Ni macam ala2 park. People come to picnic or relax. But most of them come here for the view. Another breathtaking spectacular view!

Bright sunny day. 268m above sea level

Bright sunny day–268m above sea level

That's Emine our tour guide

That’s Emine our tour guide

Next stop was the Beylerbeyi Palace. It’s the summer residence for Sultan AbdulAziz in 1861. It’s also the place to entertain the royal guests during that time. It’s huge!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. Masuk kena batch by batch of in groups. DIa control tak boleh crowded sangat kat dalam. As we walk inside (with kasut balut dengan plastic) we were given explanation by our guide about the story of the palace. It's really huge inside. The size of each room is like the size our house in KL including kitchen! And when I say strict, you wanna know how strict? There's a staff who followed us to ensure nothing is touched and we have to move fast. Takleh nak belek lama2 coz batch lain nak masuk pulak. Kat luar nun beratur panjang!

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the palace. Masuk kena batch by batch in groups. Dia control tak boleh crowded sangat kat dalam. As we walked inside (with kaki kasut balut dengan plastic) we were given explanation by our guide about the story of the palace. It’s really huge inside with most of it made of real stuff–pearl, gold, etc. And the chandeliers are OMG! The size of each room is like the size our house in KL including kitchen! And when I say strict, you wanna know how strict? There’s a staff who followed us to ensure nothing is touched and we have to move fast. Takleh nak belek lama2 coz batch lain nak masuk pulak. Kat luar nun beratur panjang!

Palace compound. Only a bit par of it. 10% je kot. It's that huge!

Palace compound. Only a bit part of it. 10% je kot. It’s that huge!

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Adik with his lentok pose when asked to smile! Dan dan terus senget!

The garden in the palace compound!

It’s not easy to be picture perfect with these 2! Tengok la sendiri!

We went for our seafood lunch. Sempat la salin diaper Z and bancuh susu sebotol dua untuk bekalan petang pulak. My boys drank a whole lot of milk along this trip. Maybe sebab kena makan benda baru and they are not use to the on-the-go kinda meals. Milk kept them full and energized. I brought a tin of formula and habis in 6 days! Tak cukup sebenarnya. Had to catu during the last day sebab dah nyawa2 ikan je supply. Went to look around the supermarket tak jual formula se-banyak kat Malaysia. Try cari substitute choc milk but the boys tak minat. Lucky Z is still breastfeeding. Although his direct bf now is just for penghilang haus je. LOL!

The restaurant is under the bridge. People ramai tengah memancing from above

The restaurant is under the bridge. People ramai tengah memancing from above. Nampak tak joran fishing lines top left corner?

Makan Turkish seafood yang sangat healthy. Grilled seabass with the condiments

Makan Turkish seafood yang sangat healthy. Grilled seabass with the condiments. Mana la tak lose weight kan? LOL!

My view during lunch. If only the boys were not so kecoh I might have enjoyed it even more. *sigh*

My view during lunch — if only the boys were not so kecoh I might have enjoyed it even more. *sigh*

After lunch, Emine brought us to a carpet wholeseller shop. Turkey is famous for its handmade carpets. Beautiful masterpiece! The tokey can speak Malay sebab he married a Malay Singaporean. So takleh la nak cover2 kutuk cakap Melayu. Kah kah kah!

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Mountains of carpet. We were brought upstairs. Dia tebar satu per satu carpet. From the biggest to the smallest. From the most expensive to the cheapest. Anak saya lari2 dalam ni macam bapak dorang tokey kedai. Tumpahkan air atas sofa TWICE! Nasib baik bukan atas carpet. Kalau atas carpet, tak balik Malaysia kot kitaorang. Kena keje situ bayar hutang. *Nangess!*

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These carpets cost puluh ribu USD!! Can you believe that? Jamu mata sajo. Gile nak beli? But I can’t deny it’s gorgeous! Capital G!! They are reversible boleh pakai both sides and the colour changes depending on the light coz the thread dye colour they use is from natural vegetables. Bukan artificial colouring. And ada yang yang shining tu coz it’s made of silk thread. Hoh cantik sangat!

We were served Turkish tea, Turkish coffee and juice for the kids. Most of the kedai there suka nak serve drinks to us. And it's not polite if we say no. Tapi rasa bersalah je kalau tak beli.

We were served Turkish tea, Turkish coffee and juice for the kids. Most of the kedai there suka nak serve drinks to us. And it’s not polite if we say no. Tapi rasa bersalah je kalau tak beli, kan?

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Demo on how they weave the carpets. This lady has 20+ years experience weaving carpets. She’s a pro. Tengok macam mana dia selit and ikat thread tu satu per satu. Yang atas tu is the pattern dia kena follow to form the design on the finished product. Same concept like when we do cross stitch. And oh, one carpet takes about 4-5 years to complete!

Done with the carpets, off we go to the jetty — Bosphorus cruise. Panas terik di darat, naik ferry terus semua jadi sejuk menggigil. But the view was magnificent. Subhanallah!

Z was a little cranky masa tu. He slept for a bit and woke up crying wanting to be held standing. Thot he was cold tp tak nak jacket. We suspected he was sea sick. Nasib baik tak muntah

Z was a little cranky masa tu. He slept for a bit and woke up crying wanting to be held standing. Thought he was cold tapi dia tak nak jacket. We suspected he was sea sick. Nasib baik tak muntah. The cruise was quite long. Sejam setengah macam boring jugak la towards the end tak sabar nak sampai jetty

The Spice Market was just nearby the jetty. Walking distance lintas jalan je. Tapi manusia di situ Ya Allah ramai sangat! Nasib baik tak bawak stroller that day. Dukung peluk je anak. Even IY! Takut terlepas tangan. We didn’t spend much time at the market. Straight to the point Emine took us to a shop and we bought spices and nuts and Turkish delights.

One thing about going a trip with a tour guide is theytend to take us directly to a shop. Takde chance nak explore pusing2 recce the place

One thing about going on a trip on a guided package is they take us directly to a shop. Takde chance nak explore pusing2 recce the place. And the other thing yang kurang best is they have a time constraint, we were like terkejar2 from one place to another

That was the last itinerary for day 2. Toodles!

-Pu3-

Istanbul Trip 2013: Day 1

27 May 2013

The flight

Our MAS flight was at 1230am. Perfect timing for the kids coz it’s bedtime. The journey took 10hours and the boys slept 8 hours throughout! Yay! I have booked front seats with basinet knowing my kids needed the space. Bukan nak pakai sangat pun basinet tu sebenarnya coz Z was more comfy sleeping in my arms. He was a bit too panjang already. Muat tu muat tapi sendat. Tapi memang berbaloi bayar extra for the front seats coz dekat dengan toilet and more leg room for Z to roam around. Peramah pulak si Z this time. Jalan sana sini up and down the aisle senyum2 kat orang. He wasn’t too interested on the movies. Unlike the big bro yang melekat kat seat tengok movies and cartoons back to back.

Us before the departure KLIA--funny story happened here. I dropped my boarding pass and my name was announced to come to the info counter to collect it. Somebody found it. Whoever you are, thank you stranger! Glamer kejap I! Skarang baru la rasa funny, di waktu kejadian? Hoh! luruh jantung!

Us before the departure KLIA–funny story happened here. I dropped my boarding pass and my name was announced to come to the info counter to collect it. Somebody found it. Whoever you are, thank you stranger! Glamer kejap I! Sekarang boleh la nak rasa funny. Di waktu kejadian? Hoh! luruh jantung!

Arrival

Arrived Istanbul Ataturk International Airport at 6am. The immigration process was a breeze sebab we were with kids! Yay! Tak payah beratur just go straight to the counter. Sementara tunggu the rest of the family beratur on the normal lane, we went to get our luggage dulu. Don’t go to airport money changer coz they include commission. From Malaysia, bring Euro. Sampai sana baru convert Turkish Lira. Money changer bersepah2 outside there. RM4=EURO 1 = TL2.40.

Kat airport sana, trolley kena bayar. Insert coins ala2 kat Giant tu. Turkish Lira or Euro coins are accepted. Nasib baik I ada Euro coins with me from previous Euro/UK trips dulu. 1 Euro kalau tak silap.

Kat airport sana, trolley kena bayar. Insert coins ala2 kat Giant tu. Turkish Lira or Euro coins are accepted. Nasib baik I ada Euro coins with me from previous Euro/UK trips dulu. 1 Euro kalau tak silap. Tapi they have a counter to tukar coins too–so no worries if you have only notes with you. Cuma pastikan bawak small notes lah. If not, jenuh nak tuka 50 Euro notes into coins ye dak?

Our ride was already waiting for us. Huge minivan! Terkejut kejap. Dah macam bus pun ada. 10 of us memang selesa betul dalam tu. The boys boleh ke depan ke belakang main lari2 (to my dismay of course! Grrr!). I engaged with a tour package for our sightseeings and visits around the city. It’s TSC Travel. I found them masa google to find travel agent yang boleh bawak pi all the tourist places also boleh bawak pi tempat makan. We had no problem with halal food in Turkey (but for peace of mind, we asked jugak if they are halal).

We went on the package with the guide for 4 days only. Each day ada specific itinerary. As I go on, you can see where we went, what we saw and so on. The last day baru free and easy jalan sendiri pegi sana sini.

The hotel

We stayed at Innova Sultanahmet in the Sultanahmet area. Smack in the middle of the tourist centre. Walking distance to Blue Mosque, Ayasofya and Grand Bazaar. Small boutique hotel which ticks all our criterias. Friendly staff, clean and modern, no fussy funny tourist requirement and most of all I am satisfied on how they responded to my emails. Superfast even on petty leceh questions like “do you have iron and ironing board in your rooms?”.

In front of our hotel

In front of our hotel. Innova Sultanahmet was newly refurbished a few years back that’s why it looks nice and new compared to the the neighbouring hotels. Depan hotel ada pharmacist. Belakang ada banyakkkk kedai makan and mini market (ala Speedmart) where we bought Z’s diaper supplies. Also ada supermarket (ala Guardian/Watson but bigger) and tram station just around the corner. Lokasi yang sangat strategic!

Day 1 begins

Our guide’s name is Emine. A very nice friendly lady. After checking in, we went to the Asian side for brunch. Istanbul is the only city in the world that lies between 2 continents i.e. Asia and Europe. But in general, they are a European country and European people. 2 benua ni dipisahkan oleh Selat Bosphorus. The straits of Bosphorus is sooo cantik. Oh God! My pictures are not doing justice of how beautiful the place is.

Clear skies sunny day amazing view--need I say more?

Clear skies, sunny day, amazing view–need I say more? That’s one of the bridges connecting Asia and Europe crossing the Bosphorus strait. Breathtaking!

Brunch by the sea

Brunch by the sea–if you see closely, there’s a glass panel and the windows are opened. But memandangkan kami ada 2 budak tak reti duduk diam, we requested for the windows to be closed for safety reason. The windows are also glass panel so sekali pandang memang nampak macam tak de window pun. See right through it. Aaahh, tengok view pun dah kenyang kot?

After brunch we went to Istinyepark Shopping mall. Well, spent an hour je kat situ to change some Liras and change Z’s diapers. Mall is a mall sama je mana2 country pun. Minum2 kejap kat cafe and off we went to the next destination The Miniaturk.

The Miniaturk is a place where they build replicas of the historical building in Turkey and put it all in a garden

The Miniaturk is a place where they build replicas of the historical building in Turkey and put it all in a garden

Bird's eye view of the mini park

Bird’s eye view of the mini park. It was really hot and sunny. But the wind was cooling.

We visited a mosque and tomb of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the companion and standard bearer of the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Kat sini they really respect pemerintah zaman dulu. Mosques are built to commemorate and tombs are often visited by the locals. Not just for tourism but it’s their culture to do so. Emine asked us if we do that back in Malaysia. We told her no we don’t visit the makam of our Raja and Sultan.

This mosque is considered small. There are many many mosque in the city and they are huge!!

This mosque is considered small. There are many many mosque in the city and they are huge!!

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These are not even tourist tau. These are their locals.Baca doa kat makam.

Next destination–Pierre Loti Hill. We went to the peak to view the stunning view of Golden Horn. Kat atas ni ada cafe where people drink tea and makan2 while enjoying the view.

The Golden Horn (Turkish: Haliç (which is derived from the Arabic word Khaleej, meaning Gulf) or Altın Boynuz (literally "Golden Horn" in Turkish); Greek: Κεράτιος Κόλπος, Keratios Kolpos: Horn-shape gulf) is an inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years. It is a scimitar-shaped estuary that joins the Bosphorus just at the point where that strait enters the Sea of Marmara, thus forming a peninsula the tip of which is "Old Istanbul" (ancient Byzantion and Constantinople). Its Greek and English names mean the same, but the significance of the designation "golden" is obscure, while its Turkish name Haliç simply means "estuary". It has witnessed many tumultuous historical incidents, and its dramatic vistas have been the subject of countless works of art.

The Golden Horn is an inlet of the Bosphorus dividing the city of Istanbul and forming the natural harbor that has sheltered Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and other ships for thousands of years. It is a scimitar-shaped estuary that joins the Bosphorus just at the point where that strait enters the Sea of Marmara. It has witnessed many historical incidents.

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From the top

This was our last pit stop for the day. By this hour we were flat to the ground dah. Penat yang amats! It was 4-ish petang and we went back to the hotel to settle down and rest.

That first night, we just ordered room service and eat in. Tak larat dah nak explore keluar dinner. By 8pm lepas jama’ Maghrib-Isyak, we were in bed already. Jet lagged of course sebab Malaysia time was already midnight. Turkey is 5 hours ke belakang time gap dengan Malaysia. Tapi since it’s summer, the day is longer. Maghrib is 8pm, Isyak is 10pm. Subuh is 3am and I had no problem waking up sebab my body clock is Malaysia time. Pening sungguh first day tu.

I’ll continue in my next entry. Until then!

-Pu3-

Istanbul Trip 2013: We are back!

With a tan!

It was really hot there. Although not as hot as KL. Temperature ranged between 17c in the morning up to 24c in the noon. The cooling breezy wind made it bearable for us. Tapi memang hitam la semua nya macam udang kena bakar.

Will start my travelogue as soon as I recover from the jet lag and all the unpacking ya! Stay tuned. Until then, I leave you with a picture of us on top of a hill overlooking the amazing view of Istanbul. It was REALLY amazing!

Camlica Hill, Istanbul 28 May 2013

Camlica Hill, Istanbul
28 May 2013

-Pu3-

Istanbul Trip 2013: Here we go!

Istanbul is today. Woot woot!!

I guess this will be the starting entry of my many many entries to come. I call it the Istanbul Series. Poyo je kan? Well, whatevs! I’m just too excited!

We are all set for this adventure. To be frank, I am looking forward to the scenery and history. As for now, not so much on the shopping. But we shall see la kan? Tak sampai lagi mana tau kan?

I have been googling and watching videos on how beautiful Istanbul is. I hope I’ll manage to capture those too on my camera. Kata dah ada DSLR kannn? Walaupun auto set, tetap saya nak over! I’ll try to update live (via Instagram) if the wifi permits. InsyaAllah.

Remember how I was nervous about my boys? Well, I pray they will behave themselves throughout. Even if they don’t, I promise myself to let loose and keep my cool. Kids will always be kids. They don’t care about the destination. But God knows how much they absorb throught the journey. Having said that, I’m going to treasure their journey. Our journey.

But of course, with all extra precautions and backups! Front seat on the plane, snacks, toys and colouring books in handbag, games on iphone (but not bringing the ipad), lots and lots of babywipes. And that’s just to name a few! Travel light? What’s that?! Haha!

So okay, doakan kami selamat pergi dan kembali. Coming back with a lifetime experience.  Because travelling experience is something I treasure most. I love travelling!

Bye KL. See you in 6 days!

-Pu3-

2013 holiday

Istanbul, Turkey

Can you guess?

OMG! I’m so excited! Like seriously, planning for a holiday is half the fun.

So far, the tickets are booked and the hotel is confirmed. Thanks to Matta Fair. I am currently working on the itinerary. As usual, I’m google-ing.

And of course, I need tips on flying for 10 hours with a hyperactive kid and his copycat protegé brother. I need to keep my sanity intact at all times to handle them both. So help me GOD!

Nevertheless, looking forward to May. Toodles!

-Pu3-