My son's and I were recently on a cruise that included a couple of days in Istanbul. By far the best experience of our entire trip was spending the evening with Semih and our host family sharing a dinner, talking (with Semih providing interpretation), and wandering through one of the neighbourhood's around the Little Ayasofya.
I enjoy travel, but haven't done alot of it, and what I like most is being able to spend some time in one place, walk it's streets, start to feel it's bones and get even a small sense of what the place may really be like. Try to form some kind of connection. With a cruise providing you maybe a day in any port this is incredibly difficult to do, however this evening really made that happen for me, and I think my kids.
The original itinerary called for going to a family home for dinner and then out to a tea shop for tea, backgammon and waterpipe. As it was Ramadan the order was reversed so that, after meeting at the Urban Adventures office near the Hippodrome, we proceded to a tea house, with Semih providing us with lots of information along the way, both historical and current. We arrived at the tea house where we sat, enjoyed tea, smoked from the water pipes and learned to play backgammon. A very relaxing start to the evening, and a lot of fun. From there we went to our host families home for dinner, learning along the way from Semih abit about the community, and current day Istanbul and Turkey. We were greated warmly by the host family, her children, neighbour, and neighbours children. We were brought into their home and seated in a common area and chatted for a bit and then the best food of the entire trip was served and we all enjoyed our dinner together while continuing to ask and answer questions. Semih had told us that any question was an okay question, so it lead to a great conversation and the opportunity for myself and my kids to learn a little about life in Turkey. Dinner was concluded with tea, and after a bit more conversation we said our farewells, having already, very sincerely been told that we were welcome to visit them any time. Amazing. From there we were back out into the night and Semih very happily got us on our tram and headed in the right direction. He happened to be going the same way so we continued to chat and he made sure we didn't miss our stop.
Truly an incredible experience and opportunity that I would recommend to anyone wanting to really get a taste of this marvelous city. Thanks Semih.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.