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Showing posts from July, 2018

Creating the Ramadan Spirit : The largest Iftaar picnic in Istanbul

My dream came true this year Alhamdulillah, when I got to visit Turkey's famous Blue Mosque during the Muslim blessed month of Ramadan . I have been living in Istanbul for 2 years, but have yet to experience this special month, or Eid in Istanbul as I have been travelling each year during this month. Before I moved here, my husband visited the vibrant Sultanahmet area during Ramadan, and spoke excitedly about the buzzing atmosphere there, and all my dreams about what Ramadan would be like in Turkey centred around this! So this year, when I could not feel much of a Ramadan vibe, or even see any change in lifestyle like people around me fasting or preparing for iftaar etc I couldnt help but feel a tad bit disappointed. I understood it was probably mostly down to the fact that I live in a largely secualr part of Istanbul (Besiktas). I knew that if I wanted to feel the Ramadan spirit, I would have to inject it myself, and that is what I have done by takig on ccertain iniatives like

Creating the Ramadan spirit: Iftaar Picnicking in Istanbul

Our days are busy in Ramadan, and especially with iftaar being quite late in Turkey during Summer, it's usually difficult to meet up with people. However one weekend, my friends and I decided to arrange an iftaar together -and the idea was formed to join in the local Turkish community who partake in these "Iftaar picnics" at beautiful spots such as the Blue Mosque, or in our case we went to what seems to be everyone's favourite musjid  - Suleymaniye Mescit in Fatih. Suleymaniye Camii at Sunset This fitted well into my little movement to generate a special atmosphere in Ramadan as I was missing the strong ramadan 'vibe',  living in a largely secular part of Istanbul (read my previous post ),  So I was really excited to get out of the house, meet my friends and have a new experience in opening my fast! We arrived at the musjid (cami/mosque) about an hour before Maghrib (dusk), as the sky was slowly turning darker on a pleasantly cool Summer's eve

Review: Sariyer Kadinlar Plaji: My first visit to a beach in Istanbul - yes it exists!

Being brought up in a coastal town (Durban, South Africa), I am fortunate to have beach hangouts as part of my lifestyle, especially during the Summer. Which is why, this summer in Istanbul, I was on the lookout for somewhere to escape to to swim in and relax in.  I heard before that Istanbul does have beaches, but I had yet to discover for myself. I did some online research, and had a few names of popular beaches popped up. I was especially intrigued by the "kadinlar/bayan plaji" - 'women only beaches', which had a double bonus of not being very far out from where I lived.  This website provided clear information on opening hours (yes beaches here come with this!) and entry costs etc for "Sariyer Altinkum Kadinlar Plaji." However, unfortunately, there didnt seem to be alot of reviews from visitors to these beaches - on TripAdvisor, Facebook groups etc. So I was left a little unsure about the quality of the beach and whether or not it would be suitable