Sunday, February 04, 2007


My daughters' Istanbul trip must have been their best vacation so far. A holiday made possible and easier with the help from many quarters, namely Boogey who helped contact his old friends from Said Nursi foundation who fetched the girls on arrival, gave accommodation and introduced them to some students who brought them around and acted as guides.After covering the major attractions in Istanbul,on the third day, they set out on a 9 hr night bus journey to Troy (where the ruins are), Canakkale (where the Gallipoli battlefields are), later Izmir and lastly Selcuk (Ephesus, where the Roman archaeological ruins are better than Rome itself).

The route was planned by ikelah who extracted traveling info from a website, got it checked by Boogey (being the true-blue expert, here) and finally suggested to the girls. Ironic isn't it? A trip that is planned by someone who is not even in the journey and has never set foot in the said country! He even strongly suggested that they travel by night, to save time and money on accommodation as sleeping is done on the bus, :p

Despite some conflicts in their travel plan, they stayed a night in Izmir as requested by the Said Nursi people to meet with some medical students over there. Even though they were pressed for time, ikelah insisted that they obliged with the request. Nevertheless it was a worthwhile stay as they made good friends there.

Perhaps the icing on the cake was when they got to meet Simah, another blogger, who upon marrying a Turk, resides in Istanbul. I am at awe of brave individuals who will to part from their family and country and pursue a different kind of life in a foreign land, especially when it's for the course of Islam.

Simah was so kind to offer to meet the girls, bring them shopping, treat them to lunch and sight-see Ortakay as insisted by Boogey. However, after reaching the place and looking around the splendid view, they were surprised that the place has nothing more to offer. Perhaps Boogey must have some other significant memories of it to have suggested it persistently, :p

Simah's children, Hatice and Baddin are fine and cute kids as vouched by my daughters. They took to my girls, instantly and they had a grand time. Hatice apparently is excited each time she gets to meet people who comes from her mom's roots. In fact, Simah related this to me:

hatice said to me the moment we were parted
"anne,ablalar cok seviyorum. beni unutticaklar mi?"
(anne, i love those 2 sisters. will they forget me?)

n while we were on the bus.. baddin said:
*o ablalar cok guzellar.. hem gulumse*
(the sisters r very nice. they always smile)

Thank you Simah for giving my daughters a memorable time that day. May we meet one day, insyallah!

*photos are courtesy of Simah

My girls with Simah

With Hatice and Baddin, waiting for lunch

Feeding the pigeons at Taksim Square

At Ortakay
*(Ortakoy was a resort for the Ottoman rulers because of its attractive location on the Bosphorus, and is still a popular spot for residents and visitors. The village is within a triangle of a mosque, church and synagogue, and is near Ciragan Palace, Kabatas High School, Feriye, Princess Hotel.
The name Ortakoy reflects the university students and teachers who would gather to drink tea and discuss life, when it was just a small fishing village. These days, however, that scene has developed into a suburb with an increasing amount of expensive restaurants, bars, shops and a huge market. The fishing, however, lives on and the area is popular with local anglers, and there is now a huge waterfront tea-house which is crammed at weekends and holidays.)

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