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  #21  
Old 04.09.2011, 17:55
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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I've already sent out the notice to all my family back home to put in their request now for my shopping expeditions! I've got about three weeks to hit the shops while David works. I can't wait...
Please adopt me and bring me some smoked sausages
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  #22  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:00
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I've visited many souks and bazaars all over the middle east, and even in Egypt, where they've been selling to tourists for thousands of years, I've never simply ignored a person as if they didn't exist. A smile, a strong "no thanks" (even better in the local lingo) a couple of times and then keep walking. It's always worked for me.
I always try to smile and give the nod of my head to people. But thanks to my mother, I've learned how to say NO. I think that was the only word she knew when I was growing up!

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dont go there, you dont seem ready
Why hell, if I waited until I was ready, I'd still be living at home with my parents and working at McDonalds...

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Ignore this user: Istanbul is a wonderful, wonderful city, and you don't need to be 'ready' at all, apart from picking up a Turkish phrase book (although you can get by in German and English almost everywhere in the old centre) and remembering to drink bottled water.

There is so much to see in the city, but if you're trailing small person with you, then the following sights might be the easiest:

Agia Sofia and the Sultanahmet ("blue") mosque: not that exciting for a five year old, perhaps, but very close to each other and can be visited in a couple of hours. Not visiting them would be like missing out the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

A boat ride on the Bosphorus, perhaps stopping near the Rumeli Hisar castle for a fish dinner.

The cistern near Agia Sofia: very spooky and atmospheric. Your daughter will either love it or hate it, but it's well worth a visit.

The Egyptian bazaar: it is quite close to the centre, and is pretty compact - perhaps a bit less intimidating than the Grand Bazaar, although it is still likely to be busy.

I'm not sure I'd recommend the Topkapi palace as there's an awful lot of it, and although it's absolutely wonderful, it might be a bit of a drag for a small person. Likewise, the Grand Bazaar is amazing, but not, perhaps, ideal for a child.

Most of the centre can be reached on foot, and taxis are dirt cheap if you (or your daughter) get tired.

Have a lovely time - I wish I could come with you!
Mea loves spooky so the cistern is on the list! She also loves boat rides and shopping too. My poor husband is in trouble!

Last edited by Guest; 04.09.2011 at 18:19. Reason: Another l'il multiquote
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  #23  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:09
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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It will be interesting to see what language they speak to my husband and daughter. David is Polish and Czech (born and raised in Cleveland Ohio). Our electrician was born in the Yugoslavia and started speaking in Czech to David when they first met.
Um. Have fun in Istanbul, but maybe it would be best if you stay away from any linguistic endeavours for a while. It's good that you already know that you won't need Arabic in Turkey, but I'll just add that the Czech Republic was formerly part of Czechoslovakia, not Yugoslavia. While there are some similarities between Czech and the former Yugoslav languages (Serbian, Croatian, Slovene, etc.), they are not the same at all, and most Czechs would not understand former Yugoslavs, and vice versa. I doubt very much that a Yugoslav-born electrician could have conversed in Czech, unless he'd lived in the Czech Republic for a while.

I'm told that signs in Slovenian restaurants that say "Thank you for not smoking" (in Slovene) have a scatalogical meaning in Czech ...
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  #24  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:12
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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Long skirts check, going to get some books tomorrow check, and THANK GOD they have good public transportation!

It will be interesting to see what language they speak to my husband and daughter. David is Polish and Czech (born and raised in Cleveland Ohio). Our electrician was born in the Yugoslavia and started speaking in Czech to David when they first met.

The more I read the responses from everyone more excited I get!
Most people I met spoke English. Granted, some was a bit broken English, but they were so nice we had a big laugh about it together. After the 2nd day, I was giving small English lessons to the guy in the reception. He was so happy I was helping him out, he got us a trip up the Golden Horn for free

Food is really good. You also have italian/german/american restaurants if you are too picky, but I'd advise the fish plates. The tram is very efficient. Most were quite new and the system to buy tickets was the same as in Germany. The price is also quite ok. The city was very clean and full of cats, which kinda made me happy

Istanbul is not exactly in the edge of the world. It's a cosmopolitan city, with beautiful buildings.
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  #25  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:13
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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Your next advise ,she should have stayed in her mothers womb
and lets not forget to keep the first job I ever had because I wasn't ready to leave that either.
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  #26  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:14
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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Mea loves spooky so the cistern is on the list!
You won't be disappointed:

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  #27  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:29
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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Funnily enough, people seem not to have read the initial post.
It made me chuckle, anyways.

But seriously, OP, Istanbul is a beautiful place and probably will be soon on your list with favourite destionations...and Hagia Sophia is breath taking. Re. the languages...they seem to speak pretty much...well, everything. I was answered even in Romanian, my mother tongue. People are very friendly, of course provided you use your common sense.

Have a nice trip!
Just knowing that I will be able to communicate takes most of the problems out of the equation. I've also started talking to my daughter about the common sense thing. As much as I can to a five year old anyway... It's all about that pre planning and I have five days to go
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  #28  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:45
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

Believe me, you'll love it and especially your daughter.

The food is amazing and you'll have so many choices. If it does happen you are overwelmed, you'll find a Bugger King and a Mcdo close to Sultan Ahmet area.

You'll find a lot of very nice hotels in that area with breakfast included.

When I moved there, I didn't know any turkish and I had to get my way to every single details like food, elcetricity, etc. Believe me, even in a neighbourhood where no one spoke english, I had a lot of help from very patient and warm people. They were going out of their way to help me, to find someone who could understand ''some'' english, etc.

You will love it so much you'll go back!
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:46
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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Just knowing that I will be able to communicate takes most of the problems out of the equation.
Fortunately, or not (from an anti-globalisation perspective), English will get you by in almost every large city in the world, with the possible exceptions of China (interior) and some parts of Africa. (Yes, there are some other exceptions too -- Pyongyang? -- but I'm generalising.)

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It's all about that pre planning and I have five days to go
So much more useful than post-planning.
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  #30  
Old 04.09.2011, 18:47
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

Most of them speak English, many German as well. But they are born salesmen, so the few bits of any language they know, they are happy to use...with a large smile !
I didn't travel with a child, in fact I was on a business trip but still found some time to visit some parts of the city. But travelling with a child should not be any different, any "mistake" a child could do (throwing a tantrum in a toy shop maybe ) would be tolerated, as the Turks are very hospitable and kind.
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Old 04.09.2011, 18:49
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

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I've also started talking to my daughter about the common sense thing.
I used to work with children who were new to English, and part of my job involved taking them out and about in town. Although they were supervised at all times, the possibility of them wandering off and not being able to explain who they were or to whom they belonged was a constant worry.

We solved the problem by giving each child a little card with my name and phone number, which they were to give to a police officer or a shop keeper or some other trustworthy adult (they were under strict instructions not to go up to random people in the street) if ever they found themselves separated from the group.

Fortunately, the cards never got used for their intended purpose, but having such a card, with a short message in Turkish, might at least put your mind at rest when walking with a small child in a big, bustling metropolis like Istanbul.
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  #32  
Old 05.09.2011, 13:42
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

Trip to Istanbul

Very useful info from a lot of people for our visit last year. The people are great and we absolutely had no problem with kids, one was 4 other 3. People are helpful and do not get irritated by kids. They actually try to help if in a difficult situation like taking the pram off from tram etc.

I loved the blue mosque, haga sofia, food is absolutely great. I would love to go back. one of my fav. places
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  #33  
Old 05.09.2011, 14:22
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Re: Unexpected trip to Istanbul

Why did nobody mention Taksim street, Ortakoy? There is loads to do there, I took both my kids when they were very young. kids love the notion of history and Istanbul is unbeatable for that.
Secondly F16 , making jokes like that that are not only unfunny but make Turks look bad if you really are Turkish; its silly because it doesnt make the OP feel welcome to come.
Finally, OP ,all those apparent ideas about Istanbul will disappear when you arrrive at one of Europes most modern airports and taxi ride into the heart of the city.
Any language works in Istanbul, whether you are in a major hotel or Buyukdere in a small cafe. Have fun.
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