Travel Memories: Istanbul

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams.

The garden and fountains directly opposite the Blue Mosque are great for letting kids get the wiggles out.

I is for…Istanbul (Turkey)

Our son’s first year of life included a ton of travel. I felt like we were on his world tour debut! Getting a break from all of the friend and family visits throughout the world, we stopped off in Istanbul for a few days before heading back to India. Istanbul is a fun and easy trip to do with a baby.

Blue Mosque seen from the roof of our hotel

There isn’t a particular site in Istanbul that makes it child friendly, rather the absolute love and adoration the Turkish people have for children is the pull. This one aspect made our visit so special and memorable. Everywhere we turned people came out of their shops, (ok, usually to sell us something or usher us into their restaurant!), to say hello and chat with us. Once they laid eyes on our son they forgot their plan of getting business and just chatted to us like regular people. Living in India, we were used to lots of attention around our blonde hair, blue eyed son, but here he really opened the door for us to get to know the locals in a much deeper way.

Istanbul Turkey
Turkish flat bread being made on small bylanes are great free tourist attractions

The Turkish people’s love of children was probably amplified due to his blonde hair and pale skin. But really, at almost every restaurant we went to the wait staff would cater to our son, play with him, take him around to show him the kitchen so we could eat a bit in peace and of course met his every demand! As traveling parents to a baby, this is your dream situation!

Of course, many Westerners might find this uncomfortable, especially since most of the people you interact in this country are men. There is nothing sinister going on, they just absolutely adore children.

A visit to Istanbul isn’t complete without visiting the various markets around town.

This beauty of this city is seen everywhere you turn. Istanbul is a beautiful blend of East meets West. Fancy, modern streets are surrounded by historic tiny by-lanes with wonderful Turkish bath houses hidden in plain sight. Streets are packed with locals out doing their shopping so thick that you can barely squeeze a stroller through, much less a car. Beautiful buildings like the Blue Mosque, vibrant markets (for tourists and locals alike) and fascinating neighborhoods make for eclectic sight seeing.  We found the locals to be so open and welcoming with English very common. Every time I would sit for a minute with my son I was surrounded by locals who wanted to chat.  One of our favorite daily activities was stopping by a delicious cafe to eat local Turkish food (pita and hummus was our baby’s favorite) while chatting with the owners.

Cafe owner taking our son for a stroll around the restaurant while we ate

If you are looking for an easy but exotic getaway, consider Istanbul. It is easy to explore and the people are so welcoming. It is a great gateway city/country for other Middle Eastern or Asian travel.

Other posts in the A to Z Challenge:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Belchite, Spain
Czesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Devi Garh Hotel, Udaipur India
Emeishan, China
Flores, Guatemala
Gimmelwald, Switzerland
Highway 1, California

16 thoughts on “Travel Memories: Istanbul”

  1. What perfect timing – I saw your link to your blog on boobybrigade this morning, and we leave for Spain via Istanbul with our 5 month old in 2 weeks! So happy to see your post that it should be a wonderful place to take our baby. We’ll only be there for 2 quick overnights, unfortunately, but planning to at least see as much as we can in that very brief time – even if it’s just the inside of a cafe and 1 market.

    • Laura, so happy you found the blog. We also went to Spain, so if you need any tips (depending where you are going), feel free to ask. We loved it there. We went to Spain when my son was 3, so a bit different, but awesome. Probably better with a baby since they eat so late at night which was not that conducive to a toddler!

  2. What a great post. 🙂

    As I am heading to Istanbul this summer with my friends, accidentally found your post. I will surely try out Turkish food. Can’t wait to reach an awesome experience of my lifetime. Pictures are amazing.

    Thanks a lot for sharing the post. 🙂


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