At the Istanbul Ataturk Airport
3 days before our flight, Haqeem had a fever and his temperature hit 39.9. To make it worst our normal Pediatrician was visiting his sick son in London, so we visited another Ped recommended by a friend. The doctor told us that Haqeem had a throat infection and some phlegm in his chest and upon knowing that we have an insurance, he wanted to do chest x-ray and blood test. At first we said okay but after hearing other children screaming while taking blood we decided to just take the medicine and antibiotics. That night none of us have any sleep as Haqeem’s fever didn’t even go down even after we gave him the suppository. After 2 hours and temp still in 39 range, I decided to bathe him and he being a very good boy, didn’t even cry when I gave him a quick shower even though he was shivering at that time. The temperature went down slightly but maintain on the higher 38. Not knowing what else to do besides sponge bath him non stop, I decided to gave my brother who is a Ped in Malaysia a call. He told us what to do and alhamdulillah, we managed to bring his temperature down. My brother told us that Haqeem will continue to have fever for one or two day but based on his experience, he said insyaallah Haqeem’s fever should be OK by the time we fly to Istanbul. True enough, during the whole journey as well as when we were in Istanbul, he was fever free, alhamdulillah.
Okay… due to that whole “commotion”, we only managed to do the packing on Thursday night itself and since we planned to leave home about 3:30 in the morning, both me and my other half didn’t even get any sleep that night. We left a bit early (our flight was at 7 am) just to have an extra time to come back to the apartment and leave the car should the long term parking is full but Alhamdulillah, there were still a couple of parking left in the long term parking. Our flight to Istanbul (Kuwait-Bahrain-Istanbul) was good and 90% of the time, we slept hehehe. Super duper tired!
Group photo before making our way to the hotel.
We arrived in Istanbul at about 2 pm local time and the temperature was 11 C and it was windy. Istanbul airport is modern and it reminds me of Heathrow airport. We had arranged for the hotel to pick us up from the airport and the journey took about 45 mins to 1 hour.
Faros Hotel Sirkeci
We stayed at Faros Hotel Sirkeci and I can tell you it was a good decision to join the other families hehehe (earlier we plan to stay in a self catering apartment). The hotel room was not that big but it was good enough for us as we do not planned to stay in the room all day, our target was to leave hotel after breakfast and come back after dinner, and true enough… that’s what we did the whole 5 days we were there. The hotel has an excellent location in the center of the old part of Istanbul, just around the corner from the main square and steps away from the tram(Gulhane station). Souvenir shops are close by and they sell at very reasonable prices. The hotel’s breakfast was great and the hotel has a nice outdoor patio where we hang out at night hehehe… and I love their seafood spaghetti! Ate the spaghetti 3 nights straight! (Ni berjangkit dengan Zura la nih). We did the hotel booking via booking.com and then contact the hotel manager for more detail arrangement.
By the time we’ve settled down in our room, it was almost 5 pm. All of us agreed to meet again at the lobby 15 minutes later and take a walk to a recommended Doner kebab place near the Galata bridge. From the hotel it took us about 15 minutes to get to the Doner kebab place (Hamdi Restaurant) near the Galata bridge and the Spice Bazaar. By the time we found out that they only serve doner kebab during the weekend, it was too late to leave as we were already seated comfortably at the table, so… we just order something simple to “alas perut” . The food was good but a little bit pricey.
After dinner, we took a walk in the spice bazaar. Among other things that you can find here are of course spices, all sorts of dried fruits, nuts, seeds, all sorts of tea and the most important item is Turkish Delight. There are a variety of Turkish Delight you can find here and my favourite is Pomegranate Turkish Delights with Honey and Pistachio nuts. Turkish delights with honey is slightly more expensive than the one made from sugar. We managed to get Turkish Delight with honey at TL60 per kg and if I’m not mistaken the one made from sugar is about TL30-TL35 per kg. When you buy this Turkish delight, they will place them in a box and then vacuum seal them to maintain their freshness. The shop owner told me that it can maintain fresh for the next 5 to 8 months and you should NEVER EVER place them in a fridge. Turkish delights can be found everywhere in Istanbul but from my experience, the one at the spice bazaar are fresher and more moist than the one that you find in the shops along their streets… I might be wrong but I did buy the same type of Turkish delight from a shop near the hotel and the taste is simply not the same.
A box of 1/2 kg of Turkish Delights
From the top: Pomegranate with honey and pistachio wrapped in marshmallow, wrapped with crushed pistachio and wrapped with saffron
Tasting Spree… Turkish delights and apple tea
Dried flowers for tea
Spices, spices and more spices
Dried fruits and nuts
Okay, other things that you can find in the Spice bazaar are all sorts of souvenirs such as ceramic handcrafted plate/bowl, the Blue Eye (the evil eye) souvenirs that come as an ornament or as an accessory illustrated as bracelets, earrings and even pendants of necklaces, all sorts of key-chain and also fridge magnet (will upload my new FM collection soon hehehe).
My one and only ceramic plate.
Hand painted ceramic spoon-Blue Mosque
Ceramic hand painted spoon- Hagia Sophia
Pening pening pening
The spice bazaar closes about 19:30 on normal days and 18:30 on weekends. We left for hotel just before the shop closes. All in all, it was a good day for us even though we were freezing hehehe. So my advice to you is, if visiting Istanbul during winter, be sure to wear boots and have one thick jacket. You might wonder why I said one thick jacket… well, because in Istanbul you can get all sorts of jacket with almost half the prices in Kuwait. So, you just need one jacket to survive before you find a nicer and prettier Istanbul jacket hehehe. Oh.. leather jacket is also cheap!
The men with their new Barrett…