A family girls trip to Istanbul // photo story

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Somewhere in the last year, on days when mama was really sick, I started wishing for a trip together when all of that was done ..

We had never done something like that before because leaving nana & nani didn’t feel possible (between mama & Waliya, one person is always around) – but after mama’s cancer diagnosis, with Faizan nearby + mama’s support system; it felt like this was something we really should prioritize when we can!

Waliya & I were on board from the beginning but it required a little bit of reassuring for mama & Nadiya ; but gosh even with everyone on board it was such a rollercoaster! Flight cancellations (twice for Nadiya & once for myself); visa issues (Nadiya actually ended up canceling her trip the first time); finding out Anya’s passport had expired two days before we were supposed to fly out in August; having to find new dates that would work & weren’t crazy expensive.. there was just SO much!

But we plan & then Allah plans:):):) ——— We delayed our trip from August to September; meanwhile Nadiya got her passport earlier than expected & decided to join too & here we were! SO crazy how things work out.

Just wanted to add this back story, because as we watch people’s stories on Instagram, things tend to look so easy; when more often than not, they require so much persistence & planning to happen.

& now that this is done, some photos, details & links. Have gotten SO many questions & really hope these are helpful!

a photo story & the places we visited

these photos taken by Papa on their ’84 trip made me so nostalgic & I kept thinking of them; also tried to take similar photos idk just to feel that connection to my papa. & I did feel it!


Details + Info

Stay: We stayed at this AirBnb in the Taksim area & then this hotel in Sultanahmet area for the last two nights of our stay. The Taksim neighborhood was my own favorite but the personal treatment we got at the hotel made us feel so welcome. Loved it! (FYI: Cars aren’t able to come to the street for that though & we had to walk a few streets to get to it). Because of mama’s knee, we were only looking for places to stay that either had an elevator or were on the ground floor which was quite a challenge. Just something to keep in mind.

Phones: I have TMobile here in the US, which has free data roaming anywhere in the world so did not need to get a SIM but Mama, Nadiya & Waliya all purchased a local number from the airport to use for data mainly.

It helped to have our locations shared with each other during our trip for those times when someone splits up and for some peace of mind. We shared with each other on Find My Phone since we all had IPhones but Google Maps works great as well. Definitely recommend doing that!

Getting around: We used cabs mostly for transport + Uber a few times too. We were also able to rent a vehicle for some hours through the hotel. If you don’t mind walking more (we couldn’t because of mama), I hear public transport is wonderful. We asked the hotel for a wheelchair for mama & luckily they got us one that we rented for $20 a day, just mentioning that too:)

Travelling with Kids : a pre-teen & a toddler kept things interesting & fun haha. I’m sure Nadiya will talk in more detail about traveling with Nyra but she tried to plan around her food, bathroom breaks & a good night’s rest & Nyra was such a good traveler. With Anya of course for the most part it’s so easy to travel, in fact she’s such a big help for me; but we’re in the midst of pre-teen moodiness & I tried to be mindful of that by letting her make her choices, letting go of bedtimes etc. I told her before we left that I want her to have fun & expect she can make good choices for herself. We also tried to plan with her interests in mind too & alhamdullilah it was great. She adores our family & had the best time!

Foods: We really enjoyed the roasted corn everywhere in the city & would grab it as a snack when on the road. Kunefe became a favorite dessert. The apple tea & afghan tea we were offered was so good! Other than that, we ate what we found & relied on fast food & what we could grab at other times.

Shopping: Turkish Delights from this popular place (they were SO good – I hear their baklava is amazing) , Apple Tea + Pomegranate tea, Jaanemaz, Turkish Rugs, Turkish Coffee Pot, locally made candles (Waliya & I got this brand from the Domabache Palace Store), Scarves, Local Art from street vendors. Loved picking up a few little bowls etc from this shop near Blue Mosque.

& Lastly, some links (cameras, outfits, gifts etc)

Camera: All of these photos taken on my new Sony Alpha camera (this camera + this lens ) that I got for taking photos for myself mainly. It’s so light & the results are wonderful. This is the camera Anya has & since I’ll get some questions, this is the one Waliya is using from her partnership with Sony. (the 7c that I have is a smaller sized version of the a7 III in many ways)

Outfits: (Anya) red dotted 2-piece | “You Quack me up” Donald Duck Tshirt | Ms Marvel Tshirt | Pants (Me) red linen dress | Striped Buttoned Shirt | White Buttoned Shirt | White Sneakers | Black Sneakers | Sunglasses

Gifts: Needed really small gifts for everyone & little time so shopped on Amazon: For mama – this kimono wrap because she really likes them ; For Nadiya/Waliya this & this for their homes ; For Nyra these favorite books.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love.