We had been looking forward to a year away from the holiday music, shopping, decorations and expectations that usually mark our Decembers as Americans. While we are missing our families and friends even more this week than ever, we didn't at all miss the eight weeks of merchandizing that normally lead up to December 25th. Perhaps we will feel a twinge of regret as the year closes without carols and eggnog. But Istanbul, it turns out, is not totally devoid of holiday spirit. It is just done on a smaller scale and for a much shorter duration.
In the past week, Santas, reindeers and Christmas trees have appeared. Some leave us nostalgic, and others make us laugh. But as we continued to point out decorations to each other, we realized that we weren’t such scrooges-at-heart after all.
Our Christmas will be spent visiting the classical sites of Ephesus and Pergamon, on Turkey’s Agean coast. We will be taking a break from the blog until we return to Istanbul next week. Until then, our warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas.
Near the Egyptian Market
Christmas Blend at the Starbucks
Santa selling lottery tickets on Istiklal Caddesi
This fiberglass bear, now even weirder in his Kris Kringle attire, is a permanent fixture over the entrance of an expensive hotel here.
Billboards over Taxsim Square
Simit vendor in Taxsim Square. The extremely popular simit is kind of like a sesame bagel.