Mid term break is one of those things which is a bit hard to figure. Its a school holiday for sure, but at times it is just an extra day tagged on to the weekend, lasting a grand total of 3 days, and at other times it is the whole 5 day of the week. The latter resulting in a nice long 9 days hiatus from school.
Well, the twins had their mid term break immediately after the overnight camping trip, and I managed to get some days off to coincide with the occasion. I had actually asked for leave, thinking that a longer break would allow the family to go on a nice planned break. Alas, the best made plans are still that of humans.
It is said that we should not look a gift horse in the mouth (nope, never been gifted with a horse, not do I plan on looking into a horse’s mouth anytime soon), thus the 4 days that I managed to get away from work while the twins were still away from school was hurriedly turned to a short holiday away from Dubai.
We considered a couple of places, Europe being primarily the target as the lure of playing in snow was still a major attraction. However, there weren’t too many destinations that fit our requirement of being not too long away from Dubai and one which had ample amount of seats/flights since it was pretty much a last minute arrangement.
A quick look at the airline site and that of Booking.com made us decide that perhaps it is time to visit Istanbul. A relatively short 4:30 hours away and with 2 flights per day out of here gave us the flexibility that we required. Linda was in charge of the accommodation and after scouring the review pages of multiple travel websites, choose a nice hotel near the old part of Istanbul called Sultanhamet.
As luck would have had it, the weather forecast for Istanbul during the trip was that of snow and rain! I wasn’t too pleased, thinking about walking in the cold and slush that was bound to be there. Unfortunately…(fortunately??) the family thought otherwise. They were looking forward to the snow and all the joys of a winter holiday.
We had only 4 days, including 2 days for travel, thus I had planned to visit the historical sites on the 2nd day and take the ferry across to the other part of Istanbul on the 3rd. Again, our best laid plans were thwarted by the weather. It snowed so heavily after we arrived that the whole transportation system in Istanbul was shut down for a couple of hours during the day.
Luckily we were walking distance away from the Blue Mosque and Aya Sophia. While we trudged through the snow to get there, surprisingly, there were quite a lot of other tourist like us, braving the snow to keep to their holiday visit list .
The thing about being cold is also the fact that you get hungry very quickly. Either the body burns a lot more stuff to keep you warm, or just the psychological feeling that you are hungry the bodies way of getting you to a nice cosy place and away from the cold blowing wind and icy slushy snow! For that, Istanbul is near perfect. They eat a lot of meat here and I must say that we enjoyed the food that we had during the stay. What else do you expect from the country that introduced baklava, kebabs and (why am I not surprised), Turkish Delights!
We did managed to get a little historical visit done and used the 3rd that we were there to go across the ferry to other part of Istanbul and across the Golden Horn to the new part of town.
As much as I wanted to spend time in the old buildings and narrate to the twins the historical significance of the Ottoman Empire during the Crusades and World War 1, the twins were not really ready for it :-(They wanted to spend time in the snow making snow angels and have a snow fight instead of listening about Fatih and Sulaiman and Senin and Kamel…Perhaps in a couple of years time I might get them to ask me about it.
A good enough reason to visit this wonderful place again.