I’m back. I just spent the weekend in Istanbul. A very peaceful, wonderful magical weekend in Istanbul. A mini vacation from my vacation. I know, who takes a vacation from vacation? it’s crazy, I feel guilty even saying it.
I have been to this magical city before, so when we discovered our friend organized his birthday there, we are delighted at the chance to go back. We decide to take part in only 3 days of the 5 day birthday celebrations and arrive Friday afternoon without our kids. On the plane there is a woman hugging and playing with her kids, I feel guilty having left mine with grandparents, cousins and nanny. I watch the kids in the seat in front of mine, after 2 hours they are crying and fighting. I still miss mine.
We arrive to Istanbul and take a taxi to our hotel. Before leaving I worry about the uprising in Taksim square, but the road to the hotel is empty, without the usual bumper to bumper traffic – and I realize this is Ramadan, the city is as silent and beautiful as it could ever be. The night of our arrival we go down to the hotel terrace where we are picked up by boat, not just any boat but the magnificent Halas, for the birthday party of our friend D. Floating down the Bosphorus, we nibble on the most incredible appetizer’s, followed by a more incredible dinner. A magical evening. The two short days that follow are just as amazing, we have been here before and seen the most beautiful things to see ; Topkapi Sarayi, Hagia Sofia, The blue mosque (Sultanahmet Camii) and The Grande Bazaar.
This trip we do a bit of sightseeing, (followed by a larger bit of pool lounging) the most significant being the magnificent Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern was constructed in the sixth century and used as a waterway and reservoir until the mid-16th century.
I am not prepared for the breathtaking sight that stands beneath the earths surface. Walking down the cool steps that take us underground we find ourselves in front of 336 marble columns, each 9 meters high(30 ft), arranged in 12 perfectly spaced rows, the sight is one of a kind. We are taken back in time..a time when Istanbul was called Constantinople.