Magical Istanbul

Last week I went to Istanbul after finishing umroh in Saudi Arabia. My family and I did the umroh with a guidance from a tour agent called "Multazam Community", but in Turkey we were guided by "Dorak Tour". It's amazing that the tour guides (Turkish) can speak in Indonesian! We went there at the last week of April.  It was Spring and the weather is brizzy cold. Although it was still Spring, there weren't so many tulips. The tour guide said 1-20 April is the best time for tulips to bloom... And surprisingly, Tulip is originally comes from TURKEY! Not NETHERLANDS. Whoops just knew this! Apparently Netherlands has a better skill of marketing :D

Well actually we went to Turkey a day before the umroh and two days after the umroh. Before the umroh, we went to Aya Sofya mosque, the Bosphorus, Kircilar leather jacket (apparently the best quality of leather is in Turkey, not Italy!), jewelry store, and having dinner in local restaurant. The schedule was soo tight. But it was so nice to finally meet Turkish soup, the famous lentile soup again :D For Indonesian tounge, this soup is not so hard to be digested although it tastes different with our regular soup. Turkish people love to eat with bread. They always mix anything with bread. The funny thing about the breakfast, although they do eat rice too, they never eat it for breakfast. They eat cheese, eggs, sojuk (kind of sausage), honey and zaitun. :))
Typical Turkish breakfast, you'll have zaitun with borek or bread in it.
And then at the first day after umroh, we went to Camlica Hills, Beylerbeyi Palace, Miniaturk, Ayub Mosque in Eyup region, dinner at Kum Kapi. The second day after umroh, we went to Egypt Bazaar, Topkapi Palace, Sultanahmet Mosque/Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar :))

On the last day, some of my friends from Kocaeli came to see me. There were Fatih and Isa who came to Egypt Bazaar and Topkapi Palace. Then out of the blue, Ahmet showed up. He said he couldn't come because he's preparing for his exam... Fatih and Ahmet are two students that were very loyal to me and taught me a lot of Turkish. They are a good student of Indonesian national anthem too! In 2012 they learned and last week they still remembered the lyric and sang it for me.. How wonderful.

Another surprise, Asude came with her mother and sister. She bought me Baklava, some Turkish Delight, Lokum, Turkish Kahve (coffee) and little purses with Turkish pattern. Oooh I love Asude's family so much.. They arrived in Istanbul at 10.00 AM and finally met us at 03.00 PM. Seni cok seviyorum Asude, Ane (mother) and Serra (Asude's abla -- sister).

Here's some photos in our last day of the trip:

At the park in front of Topkapi Palace.
Strolling around Sultanahmet.
Eating in a local restaurant in Sultanahmet.
Beyti Kebab and Tuna Salad.

Heey Topkapi Palace is sooooooo huge!! An hour wasn't enough for me. But if you have only a little time, I suggest you to take photo at the balcony where you'll have Bosphorus as your background. So nice! After Topkapi Palace, we had dinner in Sultanahmet region. When I walked through the street of Sultanahmet, I started to feel Dejavu. Then I remembered that it was the place where my Turkish friends and I were looking for a hostel where my Indonesian friends were staying. Because that area is very strategic (close to many city attractions), there are a lot of hostels and cafes. Therefore, to find a tiny hostel, it was so hard and exhausting. My Turkish friends at that time were Utku and Atakan. It was the last two days of my staying in Turkey. If you still remember, I had a volunteering/internship project in AIESEC Kocaeli back in 2012. I had to stay in a hostel for a night... The sucks thing was that when we found the hostel where my Indonesian friends were staying, there was no room left so I had to look for another hostel. Well it was tiring yet a good time indeed :D

At lunchtime, the tour was directing us to the Korean Restaurant. The tour guide said that he's not suggesting my friends to eat there because their tounge won't suit with the Korean food, haha. So we decided to eat at the restaurant cross by. I ate Beyti Kebab, it's so recommended! But I have to remind you that if you don't really like lamb or beef, it's not too recommended because the smell and the flavor/odor left on your mouth will be so sting. And the funny thing about Kebab, in Indonesia, that so-called Turkish Kebab are eaten with a simple packaging and we can eat while we're walking (because it's deemed as a fast food). In Turkey? Hell no, it's a fancy cuisine--well yeah compare to Indonesia--because it's served on a plate! After lunch, we took a 10 mins walk to Blue Mosque/Sultanahmet Mosque. Tourists call it Blue Mosque but it's actually Sultanahmet. The tour guide didn't have any clue why it could happen! Haha what an odd.

People can visit Blue Mosque as a visitor but they can also pray.
The amazing architecture of Blue Mosque.

In front of the holy Blue Mosque.
In front of Grand Bazaar.

I met Asude again in Blue Mosque. The day before we had umroh, we met her by herself. But this time, she was with her mother and sister. They're such a lovely family. Serra is such a cute sister, she now speaks English fluently. Last two years when we had our iftar (break fasting) together, she didn't want to talk. She was just smiling and too shy to talk to me in English. Anyway, they made it to Istanbul from Kocaeli! It took 3 hours normally from Kocaeli to Istanbul. Plus, many roads were closed due to May Day, the workers day. There were a huge protest in Taksim square. Police and government shut the transportation modes. Thank God, we could be reunited again. But I was so pissed, I couldn't meet Muge and Cemre. Two of my bestfriends in the camp, because of that protest :(

My Turkish family which consists of Fatih, Ahmet, Isa and Asude's family accompanied us, the 'banyak mau' mother and daughters to many stores. We bought some hats. It's so nice that we found a hat which is Forever 21-model-a-like, with only 20USD. And we also found a Piccaso-a-like hat, with only 15 USD! We were lucky that we did shopping with the locals, because Grand Bazaar is sooo huge and we are pretty sure that we wouldn't find that 'hat paradise' by ourselves. Also they helped us bargaining the price so we got cheaper and better price hehee (the best part!).. Anyway, I could bargain some of them by myself, in Turkish language! :D

I'm so proud of myself X) Hey I think it's really necessary to learn a little bit Turkish to bargain in a Pazaar. Because the sellers were kinda amazed by a foreigner who can speak in their language. I will teach you some (although I'm sure its Turkish grammatically wrong):
"How much is this bag, brother/sir?"
"Ne kadar birtana canta, abi/baba?"

Birtana = one piece; Bir = one, tana = piece.
One = Bir, Two = Iki, Three = Uch, Four = Dort, Five = Bash, Six = Alti, Seven = Yedi, Eight = Sekiz, Nine = Dokuz, Ten = On.

In Turkey, they have two i(s); normal i and ı (without dot). They have different spelling.

"Make it cheaper please.."
"Indirim yapin lutfeeen.."

And lastly if you have a good price, say "Seni seviyorum" means "I love you" Hahaha.

Well I guess that's all, I will show some other pictures later. It felt so marvelous to be back to my second house for the second time :") For the third time, I will go to Cappadocia with my husband for honeymoon :3

Lef to right, up-down: with Ahmet, Fatih, Isa, Serra, Asude, Asude's Mom.
Candine iyibak..  I am waiting you guys in Indonesia! :)

Seni seviyorum, Istanbul askim. Ben cok ozledim.

Love,
NSA.

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