The Reed Family's Travel Adventures
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Category — Istanbul

Istanbul – A Turkish Delight!

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With less than two full days in Istanbul, we had a rich and rewarding experience in Turkey, with visits to the beautiful Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and, of course, the Grand Baazar.

Upon arriving at our boutique hotel in Old Town Istanbul, we were presented with juice and pieces of Turkish delight.  It was the first, but would not be the last time the kids tasted this wonderful confectionary, rarely found in the US, unless you get lucky and happen upon some at World Market.

Meals were centered around more kebabs, bread, soup, and watermelon at the local cafes, where our children sat cross-legged without shoes on brightly colored floor pillows, listening to the daily calls for prayer, while curiously watching the local men (and some tourists) smoke their Turkish water pipes (aka hookahs, bongs, etc.).  Now a staple at most of the local cafes, these colorfully adorned pipes from which you may choose various flavored tobacco for ten Turkish Lira per “hit,” are apparently growing in popularity, having largely replaced cigarettes in the early 1990s.

DSC_0201 The evening’s entertainment was attending a performance of local musicians who played and sang traditional Sufi music, accompanied by the Whirling Dervish dancers.  If you’ve ever wondered where  the term “whirling dervish” comes from, wonder no more.  At the sunset call to prayer, these Sufi dancers proceed to pray and then put themselves into a meditative, trance-like state, from which they proceed to literally twirl in their traditional garments, without rest or a single focal point to concentrate on, for upwards of twenty-five minutes at a time.  It is remarkable not only that they can accomplish the twirling in perfect sync with one another while simultaneously moving in a circular fashion around the small stage, but more impressively, that they stood in perfect stillness and balance at the completion of each of their twirling periods.  Simply amazing to see…

Monday was spent touring the beautiful Topkapi Palace (thanks for the suggestion) and walking endlessly around the Grand Bazaar, having fun negotiating for scarves, a kaftan, and pink Turkish slippers for Allison, while successfully fending off the dozens of vendors trying to charm us into their carpet shops.

Overall, our stay in Istanbul was, pardon the pun, totally delightful and well worth the visit!

Our pictures from Istanbul can be seen here.

August 11, 2009   1 Comment