Traveling with a 5 month old might sounds a little crazy…but, when Max was born, I was determined to keep my globe-trotting reputation with husband and Max in tow. (I need adventures to look forward to for the sake of my sanity). A great sale came through on KLM for tickets from Ottawa to Istanbul, and I couldn’t resist! I’ll add a few more posts about our specific adventures, but for anyone thinking about traveling to the other side of the world with their wee one, this is meant to provide a few hints about traveling in Turkey with a baby. You won’t have all your perfect comforts of home, but with a little creativity and sense of adventure, you and your baby will have an amazing time. On that note, I don’t think there is a better time to travel than when your baby is around 5 months old. You’ve adjusted to life as a new parent, and the baby is strong and curious. If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, no need to worry about warming bottles, or feeding your wee-one.
Turkey the perfect travel destination: Everything about Turkey is fabulous: Amazing cuisine, a la baklava, fresh fruits and vegetables, pide, breads, olives. Turkey has an amazingly diverse geography encompassing everything from turquoise waters, to snow-capped mountains to vineyards and white sand beaches. Istanbul is undoubtedly one of the word’s most pulsing, beautiful and dynamic cities. Few places in the world can boast such a rich history ranging from Greek and Roman warriors, to Saints including St. Paul and good ole Saint Nicholas (yes the REAL Santa Claus isn’t from the North Pole but Myra/Demre on the Mediterranean). Julius Caesar, “came, saw and conquered” near Amasya. The Romans, Seljuks, Byzantines and Ottomans have all called Istanbul home. And if this hasn’t convinced you, Turkey is home to some of the kindest and warmest people on the planet. There is incredible shopping, and its a great place to go if you’re traveling on a budget!
For the love of babies: Of course everyone loves babies…but I’ve never seen, nor could I have ever imagined such outward displays of affection and joy as I did traveling with Max. Max was met with games of peek-a-boo, tch, tch tching (a noise that the Turks love to make to babies), smothered in hugs and kisses, and greeted with “Masallah”, Glory be to god. And line-ups..if you have a baby you don’t stand in line…not at customs, not when it stretches 3 city blocks to enter a site…never. The amount of attention your baby will get will come as a bit of a surprise, and you may hesitate to have your baby swept into the arms of strangers, but I would encourage you to approach it with a smile, and embrace the enthusiasm that Turks have for children! Your baby will feel so loved and special and will laugh through the entire trip! If you’re traveling with your partner or a friend, you’ll cherish the few moments of hands-free time…perhaps even eating your meal while it is hot as the waiter or waitress carries your baby around the restaurant greeting other customers. If your baby is on the shy side, I can guarantee that he will be won over by the loving faces and tch tch tching, and games of peek-a-boo. We were also constantly given presents for Max…a good-luck charm, a felt fish, postcards, a sucker (which momma ate). It was an absolute joy to travel to Turkey as a family.