Istanbul, here I come.

"Istanbul Aku Datang", the title of a new Malay flick starring one Lisa Surihani, aptly describes our next trip. 3 more days and counting. Early this morning, we booked two triple-rooms at Ayasultan in Istanbul. My eyes were already tired from all the googling to find more info for our trip to Turkey.

There are going to be two parts in our travel plan; the first part will be conducted by a tour agency and the second one, on our own.

The first part will see us traveling outside Istanbul, from Canakkale to Ankara, in a big, big group. 63  people of various ethnics to be exact, with only 8 muslims. I was worried at first because we seldom travelled with non family members except for our 2010 Haj pilgrimage and one Bandung trip in 2008. My tour head, Nicki assured me that the smoothness of the trip will depend on people, even small number can cause problems. I took it positively, praying Allah will give us His blessing. The next 5 days after the groups depart for Malaysia, will see us exploring Istanbul in our own sweet time.

We have started our preparation loosely more than a month ago, buying jackets at affordable prices at  jumble sales, and feeling good about it. Our concern is mostly about the weather, whether to bring winter jackets or just sweaters. It's a rainy season over there now in November. Turkey has a Mediterranean climate with a cold rainy winter and the coldest winter will be in December and January.

We were advised to bring light winter jackets, sweaters, long-johns, umbrellas and enough clothing for the rainy days. Small first-aid kits, slippers, small towels and bathing suits, too. As for money, a person should bring at least US$600 and will change US$100 into TL on arrival at the airport. Luggage size is optional but shouldn't be more than 20kg a person ( I still can remember the hassles we went through at the Los Angeles airport when that particular immigration female officer wanted every luggage should be 50 pounds or less!). We planned to bring 1 large one, 2 mediums and some carry-on bags. I will definitely bring along my dear MBP and my husband, his IPad. Daughters are reminded to bring all the needed gadgets, charges and perhaps one extension cable.

Friends and the internet have given some tips but we are still not sure and I want this trip to be the best ever. Any tips from you, dear readers are most welcome.

Thank you for reading and visit me again.


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