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December And Christmas In Istanbul

December in Istanbul is not like anything I could have imagined. Usually at this time of the year in England Christmas spirit is floating around wherever you go. In Istanbul however Christmas can only be found by those who look for it. It was strange not to be with my family when the holidays came around but I did have my own Christmas celebrations here in Turkey.

The build up was strange, hardly any shops had decorations, no carols in the streets or lights on people’s homes. Despite the lack of Christmas, Istanbul were ready to celebrate New Year, with lights in Taksim Square, or the shops with New Year sales. If you were looking for Christmas, you might have found the odd shop that sold Christmas gifts or a Christmas tree. One thing is definitely sure about that time of year is that it is cold, even in Turkey they get cold weather in Winter.

My not very traditional but very tasty christmas dinner

I decided that I didn’t want this Christmas to be the one where I was upset because I wasn’t with my family, but rather one that I’ll remember because for once I did something different. So I did something different and took a flight to Izmir, from there I went over to Ephesus (Efes) and saw the open air museum and the main reason for the visit; visited the Virgin Mary’s final home. There I joined in the Christmas mass before returning back to Istanbul on Christmas night.

It may not have felt like a traditional Christmas but its one I will never forget.