Baby shopping in Turkey

My Dears.

Some time ago I wrote you a blogpost about the baby shopping in Malta. In Turkey it’s actually similar, but we have a few important differences here, we should mention to Parents or Guardians before holiday with Toddlers 🙂 It will be rather nice, though long.

 

1) First of all – water!!!

What you have to know: In Turkey we don’t drink tap water – even if it’s boiled. In Malta it would be just salty, but in Turkey it’s completely unable to drink (Cappadocia was an exception). Turks often order around 20 liters of water in carboy for 10 TL (eg. Erikli, Sırma or Pınar). In markets or children’s stores they often have special baby spring water for sale (tr. kaynak suyu) produced by Hipp.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania hipp su

2) Where and what?

In Turkey there’re several chain stores for children, however I’ll recommend two the most popular, inexpensive and the most widespread. They’re Joker and e-Bebek 🙂 What’s in those shops? Everything! Baby jars, drinks, modificated milks, diapers, changing pads, training pants, clothes, cosmetics, toys, accessories, and also cots (classical wooden, travel one and side sleeping cribs), cradles, diverse strollers, car seats, bed sheets, breast pumps, nursery pads… and even the mysterious drinks for breast-feeding moms, but I’ll be right back there 😉

What I like in Turkey (or at least in Istanbul) is that I can solve everything in one shop and I don’t have to run to the first one for baby clothes, to the second one for a stroller, and to the third one for modificated milk 🙂 Prices between shops are mostly similar to each other, so you don’t think like: „Ok, I can buy a modificated milk while buying cot, but in Macro it’s 15 TL cheaper, so let’s waste those 20 minutes for going to another corner of the shopping mall and three floors higher” 😉

joker-logo-indirim-kuponum

The Joker store is often divided into two parts: Joker Baby (with clothes and  equipment strictly for babies) and Joker Toys. It helps parents to discern and find the product they are looking for.

3) e-Bebek

ebebek

I’ll write about e-Bebek a bit more, because… Firstly, I go there more often due to its location close to our house, so I know more about this store. Secondly, it offers some interesting products and services that are worth mentioning.

If you search for a cheaper alternative to famous Pampers, e-Bebek sells its own diapers „Baby & Me”. They’re quite a good quality, they resist much and they have a stripe down the center of the diaper showing the level of wetness (like in Pampers Premium Care). Bibi didn’t complain 🙂 Furthermore, there’re added diaper bags for free (thrust me, this gratis is useful).

pieluchy

E-Bebek leads their own hair salons for little children in at least two locations:
1) European district Bayrampaşa in the „Forum Istanbul” shopping mall (address: Kocatepe Mahallesi, Paşa Cad. 3-5, Çamlıca” (address:

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania e-bebek kuafor
Source: You Tube

E-Bebek sells also their own magazines in Turkish for a few liras. You can read there many interesting parenting articles and there’s a little gift added to each issue – sometimes it’s a diaper, sometimes drink for moms.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania e bebek magazine haziran
Source: Official website of e-Bebek

If you prefer online shopping, e-Bebek is one of the few Turkish children’s stores having English version of their webpage: https://www.e-bebek.com/en/

INTERESTING FACT: The seller at e-Bebek isn’t just anybody 😉 Sorry, it’s not seller, but Bebekolog. Employees at e-Bebek undergo special courses regarding the scope of responsibilities and knowledge about little children, to receive this honorable title afterwards.

 

4) Clothes and shoes:

I really appreciate in Turkish shops (especially in the mentioned children’s chain stores), that clothes are made in Turkey!!! They’re also inexpensive and a good quality. Usually foreign companies such as Chicco or Mothercare sell clothes other than Turkish.

For comparision: In Poland you can buy Polish baby clothes through the Internet and only in some individual stationary stores. They’re also more expensive, than other clothes. In chain stores the origin of clothes is usually China, India or Bangladesh. In my opinion, Poland should support “our” clothes more, because Poles really make nice clothing.

Some time ago Bibi somehow has lost her shoe while playing in Istanbul park. As my Mother-in-law recommended, I’ve bought for my Daughter the shoes from Nubebe in Kadıköy district (Asian side). Although these shoes aren’t the cheapest (the average price is around 100 TL, through sometimes you can find a discount where shoes are 60TL), they’re awesome – they look great, they’re made of natural materials and are well contoured. They all have stiffened heels, which is an important aspect in children’s shoes, but sometimes overlooked. Just look at them!

nubebe

 

5) Baby jars:

In Turkey they’re produced by four companies: Hipp, Milupa, Bebelac and Hero. In most of the European countries you can buy baby meals with everything: various meats (chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit, veal or pork), fish (pollock, salmon), vegetarian and even spaghetti 🙂 They’re being sold in different age ranges. How does it look in Turkey? There’s only chicken! (tr. tavuk) For example, the dinners for infants by Hipp are: chicken with vegetables and rice (from 4th month), chicken with vegetables and potatoes (from 8th month) and chicken with vegetables and noodles (from 12th month). The similar situation is with Milupa and Bebelac. The meals are intended for infants aged 5 to 8 monthsand contain chicken and various vegetables (beans, tomatoes, carrots or leek) with rice or potatoes. There’re also soups without meat. I didn’t find any baby jars with pumpkin, Bibi really likes.

Hipp tavuk
Source: Official website of Hipp
Milupa tavuk
Source: grafis.com.tr

So what can we do, if we want to give something more to our baby than just chicken and vege soups?
1) Take so many baby jars in checked baggage that it will last until the end of the trip (the luggage will be heavy, but I was doing this recently).
2) Go in the middle of holiday to Bulgaria and Greece for one day for shopping (not the most reasonable solution, if you go only for this).
3) Cook by yourself (some wives of Turks are lucky to have culinary talented mothers-in-law, who always has some ideas 🙂 ). In Turkey there’re many seasonal bazaars with eco-food.
4) Being in a restaurant choose something suitable for our little one (here it can be expensive, if food isn’t included in the price of accommodation).

The situation with fruits and desserts is much better. There’s a big choice of fruits. Short time the problem with fruits and vegetables was, except standard apple and carrot, there was often problem to find a baby jar just with one ingredient (the fruits are usually mixed). Milupa has recently solved this issue making a „Tek Meyve” („Single Fruit”) series. In this edition there’re: apple, plus, pear and banana. Furthermore, Bebelac and Hero also produce fruit yoghurts (with banana, strawberry or tropical). You can see the fruits with cereals as well. But if you prefer to give home-made products, Turkish bazaars have great natural yoghurts and fruit 🙂

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania milupa tek meyve
Source: İlk Adımlarım

What we can see everywhere, in big amounts and from each brand is a milk pudding (in Turkish: sütlaç). Bibi used to be the biggest fan of it! A classic smooth sütlaç is usually intended for babies from the 4th month and it’s being sold in a jar aroung 120g. Hipp produces also apple-milk puddings for infants above 10 months old. The jars are already 200g and you can find there bigger pieces of rice. Bebelac offers banana gruel as well. However, I highly recommend you to read the product composition on all the jars, because some of them may contain white sugar (tr. şeker).

The prices start from 1,50TL (cheaper desserts), and end with 6TL (bigger dinners).

 

6) Other food products:

 

a) Modificated milk (tr. devam sütü):
You can buy a modificated milk from standard European companies (Nutricia, Hipp, Humana)… The products of the Nutricia concern have the names: Aptamil (more expensive one) and Bebelac (a bit cheaper). I used to buy Aptamil, because my daughter really liked it in Poland (there Aptamil is called Bebilon). The one-kilo package cost us about 80 lira. I don’t know how it is in other countries, but we noticed a big difference between Turkish Aptamil and Polish Bebilon (which is a bit sweet and leaves a foam). Turkish Aptamil strongly smells like a fish 😉 It’s the result of increased amount of Omega3 acid responsible for the brain, bones and immunity development.

Important note: In Turkey the milk number 1 is intended for newborns and infants up to 6. months. Number 2 – six-nine months old. Number 3 – from ninth month to the first bithday. Number 4 – till the age of two. Children more than two years old drink the milk number 5.

If you go out of town with your baby, it’s worthy to buy small disposable packages with ready-made modified milk. The portions „for once” are produced by Aptamil and Pınar for each age range. Just heat it and it’s ready 🙂 For comparision – in Poland, single portions of milk are being sold in sachets with powder, but only for the first two “numbers”.

b) Porridges: The situation with porridges is similar to most of European countries – you can find them with the taste of fruit, bisquits, honey, yogurt… They are made by: Aptamil, Bebelac, Hipp and Hero. They all contain milk and they’re served in boxes. Bibi liked the most multifruit Aptamil porridge, but she didn’t like the pear one (I don’t remember the brand already). They cost between 6TL to 16TL.

c) Teas: The teas from Milupa brand are the most frequently seen on the store shelves: dill tea (rezene çayı), camomile tea (papatya çayı) and so-called „night tea” containing a mixture of sedative herbs (gece çayı). Bibi drinks them quite willingly. They’re aroung 14 TL. Sometimes, we can also see teas from well-known European companies such as Humana or Hipp.

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Dill tea

d) Bisquits: I really like Turkish cookies! They aren’t too hard to bite, they have very pleasant, milky taste and they can be dissolved in milk 🙂 According to the information on package, they contain various vitamins and minerals. I have two favorite brands of bisquits from the Atatürk country. The first one is a cult brand Cici Bebe belonging to Eti corporation 🙂 Biscuits are sold in two versions. The cookies in a silver package  (classical milky) can be already given to half a year old baby. The bisquits in a gold package are intended for babies from the eighth month and contain more grain. I’ve heard also about a banana version, but I’ve seen it only in the Internet 🙂 Cici Bebe is liked not only by children 😉 I and my Husband often buy the additional package just for us 😀 Furthermore, on the official webpage you can find the recipes you can use the mentioned cookies.

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Recently, we have also another favorite company of Turkish cookies – Bebe from the Hunnap concern. The biscuits aren’t only made with whole grains, but also goat milk and very healthy carob were used in production. 

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7) Something for Moms 😉

Breastfeeding moms (especially newborn ones) know very well that natural feeding isn’t a piece of cake. Breast fullness, stasis, adenitis, lactation crisis… Don’t eat this, because it’s spicy, don’t eat that, cause it’s gassy (although more and more doctors are convinced, the diet of moms doesn’t have much to do with infantile colic). Honestly, the first months after delivery were very hard for me. Sometimes I couldn’t manage with changing nursery pads and sometimes I have an impression, it’s the end of breastfeeding, cause „there’s no milk”. I was trying to motivate my lactation with special supplements, but they were terribly sweet or tasteless. Moreover, for the first two months, whatever I ate, Bibi had stomachaches, so I was only eating light soups and mild poultry… I pretty much lost my weight afterwards.

Once upon a time my Husband brought me some mysterious cans of drinks from Turkey. They were neither carbonated drinks (I couldn’t drink them anyway), nor lactation supplements. They were vitamin drinks for pregnant women and breastfeeding moms (with the majority of B vitamins). Thanks to this Moms milk is even more valuable and she can drink something tasty and healthy.

Vita Moms are refreshing fruit drinks available exclusively in e-Bebek. You can buy two flavors of  Vita Moms – mango with orange and strawberry with banana and apple. They’re around 2,5 lira. Promalt and Mami Power in turn, they have a delicate, slightly sweet taste. My favorite one is Promalt – it’s cheaper than Mami Power (for comparision – Promalt is about 3-4 lira and Mami Power 5-6 lira) and it’s less intensive.

 

8) Hygienic articles and pharmacy (tr. eczane):

“Pampers” in Turkey are called “Prima”. They’re quite inexpensive (the average price is 0,50TL per Active Baby diaper). You’ll pay even less, when you order it online. In many cases the delivery is for free. There are also swimming diapers available. About the rest of products such as baby wipes or cosmetics, you can find almost all the popular brands in reasonable prices (wipes are from 2 till 6 TL per package). Unlike in Poland, you can buy training pants in every chain store like e-Bebek or Joker. In my homeland I had to order them online.

Now I’ll talk about pharmacy. In case of teething you can easily buy Dentinox in any pharmacy. Turkish tube of gel is quite big (20 g) and cheap (10 TL). Pregnant women can buy folic acid for 3 lira. When Bibi got ill, we paid twice less for prescripted medicine, than in Poland. On the other hand, you must be prepared for slightly higher prices for vitamins, minerlas and Omega 3 acid (mostly improrted from the West anyway – like Children’s DHA).

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania dentinox dis jeli

 

By the way – do you remember famous Baby Float in which Bibi swam the Maltese sea? It’s been bought in Istanbul 🙂

float

 

And to sum up – what you’d better take to Turkey?

1) It doesn’t matter if you buy baby jars or you cook by yourself – take a few baby meals. As I’ve already mentioned, the choice in Turkey is very small and you’ll never know, when it can be useful.

2) Supplements you take or you give to your baby  – in Turkish pharmacies they’re usually more expensive.

3) Although my Bibi has never had it before, many Europeans complain about stomach problems while holidays. That’s why take something against diarrhea for your baby.

4*) You can take a packaging of sun cream, but during vacation you’ll also have an opportunity to buy a good quality sun cosmetics in a reasonable price.

 

Today’s currency of 1 TRY:
0,80 PLN
0.22 USD
0,18 EUR

0,15 GBP
0,21 CHF

5,75 UAH

The next entry will be the continuation of the shopping plot, but will be strictly educational. I’ll write a little dictionary, you can use during shopping (many shop assistants in Istanbul don’t speak English).

 

Polski

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Istanbul: Bibi is going to the hairdresser :)

Hello!

I hope, you had a nice weekend 🙂

Today I’m presenting you another article from the Istanbul plot. According to logic, I should rather publish the shopping post now, but as long as I still have a fresh information, I will write you our summary on the first visits to the children’s hair salon.

Many people are still surprised and ask, what’s the point of going with such a little baby to the hair salon. Bibi went to first time to the hairdresser straight after her first birthday in Istanbul. It was last July and that time in Turkey there was a very hot weather. Although she used to wear light, cotton clothes and she kept hygiene regurarly, my daughter was sweating very much. Her hair was sticky and her neck was covered with little acnes. Furthermore, bangs had begun to intrude on the eyes. We decided with my Husband – it’s the time for Bibi’s visit at the hairdresser. And Bibi’s haircut not only relieved her, but her hair became denser and stronger 🙂

From a range of children’s hair salons in Istanbul, we’ve chosen „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü” (we can translate it as: „Fairytale – the children’s hairdresser”) located in Maltepe district (Asian side). It’s led by Berkan Başo, who was previously specialized in women’s hairdressing. The hair salon is situated at Bağdat Street – where the life of the Anatolian side of Istanbul goes on around the clock 😉

Logo

 

FACILITIES: Before the first visit we had to wait a bit, because a boy a bit older than Bibi was being served that time. To avoid toddler’s boredom, there’s special playroom in the salon, where you can find a lot of toys. You have to take out your shoes at the entrance to keep the room clean. For babies, the salon offers already well-known armchairs in the form of a car. The steering wheel and other “functions” of the car make the toddler busy. You can also give them some toys from the shelves nearby. In extreme situations they have also small TV’s in the front of seats, so you can show some cartoons to them. While the hair cut of infants the hairdresser uses special razors. In my opinion it’s a good idea, because there’s actually no risk of hurting a baby, and also they shouldn’t get scared like in case of scissors. If the little customer has so-called „emergency situation”, you can always use a changing table, where the pads are changed regurarly.

bty
Seats for the youngest customers 🙂
bdr
Seat for a bit older customers 😉
bty
Mirror, mirror on the wall…
bty
To avoid boredom – the payroom
bty
And more toys!
bdr
If baby needs – you can use the nursery room.

THE SUMMARY OF THE VISIT: In case of infants, Mr Berkan treads them gently indeed. Bibi actually didn’t feel the hair cut takes place and even (as you can see on the main photo) she enjoyed this new experience 🙂 The Hairdresser asks parents, how the Toddler likes to be treated or if is afraid of anything (our Daughter is a bit afraid of hairdryer, but we managed). Mr Başo focuses on communication with customers – he wants to know our opinion before, but he also corrects expectations and explains, why eg. bangs should be cut in a different way. We wanted Bibi to have a comfortable hairstyle for summer, but we also didn’t want her to look like a boy. So the Hairdresser cut her bangs very lightly and cut her hair tightly in the back. He left the sidelocks and a little hair in front, because “otherwise she would have a boyish appearance”. She in the end got a trendy bob haircut. Bibi indeed looked very nice and girly after each visit 🙂 There were no protruding individual hairs. The shading effect has stayed till today (although we visited the Masal salon the last time in the end of February). After each visit hair is getting thicker and stronger and sometimes light curls are formed on the front. The only thing I could complain about is that the bang has been cut too delicate. The hair of 1,5year old baby grows very fast and after a short time we had to cut the bangs again. Beside this, very positive.

bty
Bibi after the last haircut 🙂

PRICE: 50 TL (around 12 euro). It’s not the cheapest service for babies, I admit. But considering the final effect, equipment and the fact, we take Bibi time to time there, we were able pay for it.

 

If Mom wants to go to the hairdresser at the time as her Toddler, she doesn’t have to jump from one place to another. „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü” offers women’s haircut at the same price as well 🙂 (just reminding, the first specialization of Berkan Başo is female hairdressing).

 

CONTACT:

Masal Çocuk Kuaförü
Bağdat Caddesi Maltepe Pasajı Blok No: 425/85-86
34-844 Maltepe/Istanbul

Phone number: +90 216 371 90 72
E-mail: info@masalcocukkuaforu.com
Website: http://masalcocukkuaforu.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/masalcocukkuaforu2011/

Mapa 1.png

 

If any of you had an opportunity to visit „Masal Çocuk Kuaförü” or wants to share experience with another Istanbul hair salon for children, feel free to comment the entry here or post on Facebook Fanpage 🙂

In the next article I’ll write about the shopping for babies in Turkish children’s stores and what can be the difference between European ones 😉 Let’s stay in touch!

 

Polski

Active Istanbul Mom… And Baby :)

Dear Moms.

As I’ve said recently, today I’m gonna write how you and your baby can be active in Istanbul. Did you do any sport during pregnancy or after the postpartum period? Great! Do you involve your little ones in exercises? Even better! So why give up on your holiday? If you go to Istanbul and you want to continue the physical activity with your babies, you’re in the right place 😉 Below you can see the places, where you can release endorphins in your “free time” with your babies 😉

bty
This photo has been taken when I had squash with my husband. Just to make you know I don’t only give lectures 😉

 

However, many webpages are in Turkish, so I recommend you to read the little dictonary before:

Age of Toddler:

……ay – …… months old

…….yaş / yaşında – ……. years old

 

Days of the week:

hafta – week

pazartesi – Monday

salı Tuesday

çarşamba – Wednesday

perşembe  – Thursday

cuma – Friday

cumartesi – Saturday

pazar – Sunday

 

Other useful words:

dersler – classes

bireysel ders – individual lesson

tanıtım dersi – introductory lesson

grup dersleri – group classes

iletişim – contact

oyun – game

çocuk – child

anne – mom

şubeler – departments

(Kişibaşı) fiyat – price (per person)

doğum günü – Birthday

havuz – swimming pool

emzirme – breastfeeding

yüzme okulu – swimming school

a) My Gymfitness club for little children with classes from the second month of life till the age of 13. It offers learning and playing in one. Trainings led there are directed to children alone or babies with mums. Furthermore, the club organizes birthday parties for little members 🙂 “My Gym” is situated in many locations in Istanbul and out of Istanbul. You can check the schedule in chosen location clicking on the tab “şubeler” (in English: departments) and typing the closest district. The class names are written in English. Some departments even lead several classes in this language.

Zdjęcie użytkownika My Gym Türkiye.

My Gym Oyun Grubu
Source: My Gym official website

b) Doum Mom & Baby Yoga – DOUM school has been established for yoga fans, who are expecting baby and for those who have recently given a birth to baby. There are three kinds of yoga classes: yoga for pregnant women, yoga for women after childbirth and also yoga for moms with babies. Moreover, you can find many different exercises there: pilates,  breathing and meditation in pregnancy, massaging the babyThere is also a birth school and a lactation center. You can find out more about the program and fees on the English version of the official website. DOUM is located on the European side in the Sarıyer district on Emirgan Sokak (street) 16/1.

 

 

Doum
Source: The official website of        Do-um

 

c) Swimming – there are plenty of swimming schools organizing classes for babies with their parents.

The most popular one is Aqua Tots. This school is situated in two districts: First one is the Etiler neighbourhood in European district called Beşiktaş (address: Seher Yıldızı Sokak 23). The other one is Göktürk in, also European, Eyüp district (address: Kayın Sokak 2). Babies can start learning to swim already in the sixth month of life. The school offers eight levels of teaching depending on the child’s age. Aqua Tots has the English version of the webpage. You can order a free trial lesson there.

Aqua Tots

Source: Official webpage of Aqua Tots

Below I’m giving you information about other swimming schools (leading their websites only in Turkish).

First one is Sensory SwimmersIt’s part of a school for parents and toddlers “Baby Sensory”. Classes are divided on three age groups: 1) from newborn till the age of one, 2) from 13th month till the age of two, 3) from 24 to 36 months. Classes take place in Asian district called Ataşehir (Barbaros Mahallesi) on Evren Cad. 56/A. “Baby Sensory” not only leads a swimming school, but also many educational programms for Toddlers and practical seminars for parents preparing for the best care for a baby, eg: sensory classes for infants and small children, preparation for potty training, seminar of effective baby sleep and even learning the infant “sign language”. Participants have the opportunity to take part in various events arranged by “Baby Sensory”, eg. holly days or Birthdays. Furthermore, you can also go to the lactation center there or order a professional photo session for your Star 🙂

sensory.jpg

Źródło: Oficjalna strona Baby Sensory

Second swimming school is Aqua Babies, which is situated not only in Turkish cities, but also in the UK, Northern Cyprus, Thailand, Australia and in several European and Asian countries. Classes are directed for kids from the second month of life till the age of 5. They take place in the European district Bayrampaşa on 50. Yıl Cad. (street) 111. Third school is called Swimlabs. It organizes classes for toddlers with parents in two age levels: 1) 6-18 months old, 2) 18 months – 3 years old. Groups are up to three people. Three-year-olds can already start lessons for beginners just with teachers, without parents. Classes are taking place in the European side, in Beşiktaş district (Akatlar neighborhood) on Uğur Mumcu Cad. 8. It’s the building of Mustafa Kemal Culture Center Mall (tr. Mustafa Kemal Kültür Merkezi). And the last swimming complex organizing exercises for small children is called Dolphin Babies and it’s located in Asian district Üsküdar (address: Cumhuriyet Mah, Nurol Sokak 31). Classes for the first group of babies (0-15 months) take place on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Second group (15 months – 2,5 years) can attend on Saturdays and Sundays. Third group “Toddlers” (3 – 4 years) has an opportunity to participate in swim classes on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can see the details of schedule HERE.

 

 

Sometimes in the Internet you can find in older articles the mention of school „Swim Baby Türkiye”, which led classes for babies (also newborns) in two Istanbul locations. I just wanted to say here, that unfortunately, since 2017 this facility works only in Bodrum (info from the official website).

 

4) Dance – I don’t know what about you, but my Bibi is very musical🙂 She likes to dance and even create the songs from her babbling 😉 Most schools, however, organize dance classes for children from the age of four. If you’re currently in Istanbul and you want to dance, you can use two possibilities, even, if your child isn’t one year old yet. Both websitewebsites have their English versions.

First option is Joimove. It’s the international dance school founded by Selen Yılmaz. Classes are designed for mothers with babies in slings or baby carriages. You can learn different types of dance: salsa, bachata, belly dance, ballet, rock and others… Before class starts, moms take a part in a short seminar on the safe babywearing (the school has the reserve baby carriages if you don’t have yours). Moreover, Joimove provides water and snacks for participants and organizes various integration events. The minimum age of baby is 8 weeks (maximum is around 18 months). Before signing up for classes, they recommend a routine appointment with a gynecologist (most of the newly-minted mothers do this in the sixth week after delivery). Answers to the most bothering questions you can find on the official website. Beside Istanbul, Joimove is situated in Izmir, Bursa and Antalya as well. Joimove works also in the United Kingdom, USA, Mexico and in many European and Asian countries. If you want to know more about the program and location, you can find the country and the city that interests you in the tab Find a class, and then click on the name of the selected instructor. You will find there an e-mail address or links to social media through which you can contact directly. If the names of trainers in your country don’t have a link to the contact details, you can use the contact form.

Zdjęcie użytkownika Joimove Türkiye.

Zdjęcie użytkownika Joimove Türkiye.
Source: Joimove’s fanpage on Facebook

 

The other option is Salon Sanat Music TogetherThis school is more focused on all musical activities than strictly dance (singing, dancing, playing instruments, movement activities). Classes are conducted in different age groups from newborns to age of five. Salon Sanat is located in two Istanbul districts. First one is Caddebostan on Asian side (address: Mustafa Reşit Belgesay sok. Aydınlık apt., No: 40/1). Second location is Beyoğlu on European side (address: Cihangir, Susam sok. 11/1). „Music Together” works also in Ankara (İncek district).

Zdjęcie użytkownika Salon Sanat Music Together.

photo
Source: Official webpage of Salon Sanat

This article is dedicated not only to Moms who stopped with their children in the former Constantinople on holiday. I also highly recommend it to foreign wifes/girlfriends of Turks, who live with them and their children in Istanbul or decided to give a birth there… And there’re plenty of them. I spent most of my maternity leave in Turkey. I didn’t have so many friends there (almost all of them were singles), so I often felt lonely. Taking up some activities with your baby, you have this positive feeling, that you do something more than „only” babysitting – that you do something for yourself. Moreover, you meet some new people, with whom you have a lot of common topics to talk about 🙂

 

Next entry will be a bit unsual, because I will write about the children’s hairdressers in Istanbul 🙂 We already have experience with one hairdressing salon, so I’m going to review his services, so that you can read the article for the familiarization purposes afterwards 😉 I’ll also inform you about other available hairdressers for children in the city.

 

Polski

 

 

Going for a walk in Istanbul

Dear Parents!

In the previous entry we talked about moving around Istanbul. We already got to know about the organizational issues, so now we should consider, where we can go with our Toddler 🙂 The season of visits  to the former Constantinople has begun and I hear more and more questions on various discussion groups about places suitable for little children. Below we can see the destinations, that first came to my mind. Let’s start! 😉

1) MiniatürkThere is a place in Istanbul where you can see the whole of Turkey on just six hectares of land. Where you can visit all heritage of Turkish culture in a few hours. It’s „Miniatürk”. This miniature park isn’t only the “Must see” for every tourist, but also the great place for walks with babies. Exhibitions and simulations are properly secured. It’s full of greenery and there’s lots of space to run. And the most important thing – this park provides a lot of attractions for children, such as playground, labyrinth, tree telling fairy tales, or riding a choo-choo train 🙂

If you want to learn more about exposed monuments, you can use the audio system which provides information in many languages: Turkish, English, French, German, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and Persian (Farsi).

 

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2) Aquariums:

As I’ve mentioned in the Maltese entry, Bibi is the biggest fan of aquariums and oceanariums 🙂 There are four aquariums in Istanbul: Sea Life (TurkuaZoo before), Istanbul Aquarium, ViaSea and the newest one – Emaar. The first two are on the European side. Last two – on Asian side. The cost of admission for adults starts from 40 TL (10 euro around). For an extra charge you can take a special photo (in every aquarium) or go to souvenir shop. My favorite one is definitely Istanbul Aquarium in Florya. It’s big and thematic – each room presents a completely different theme. I also liked the fact that you could dump digital photos onto a CD and you did not have to print them. I can also recommend Emaar – tour guides really engage in guiding guests and telling them interesting facts about underwater creatures 🙂

 

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3) Istanbul parks:

Although Turks complain that Istanbul isn’t too green, the big plus is the large number of parks with playgrounds for children. I present my favorite ones – although those on the Asian side will be mentioned more because of my place of residence.

My number 1 on Asian side is definitely Göztepe 60. Yıl Parkı (which means „Göztepe 60th Year Park”). Its characteristic feature is the huge amount of flowers, especially roses, in every corner. That’s why offering walk to my Husband’s relatives I’m telling them to go to „Gül Parkı” (tr. gül – róża) 🙂 Furthermore, there’s a lot of space to run and play, aquarium in the middle and fountain show several times a day. Newies spend there around 1,5 h. From Göztepe Park there’s a short way to the Toy Museum (tr. İstanbul Oyuncak Müzesi).

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I also like Özgürlük Park and Fenerbahçe Park. First one is situated in Göztepe too. It’s well organized. We can not only count on beautiful views and lots of greenery, but we also have a basketball court, small gym or restaurant near the pond (I recommend going there for breakfast!). There’re also shops nearby. Fenerbahçe Park in turn is located by the seaside, that’s why you don’t have only the view of the sea provided, but you can also take a walk along the promenade. This place looks very romantic – there’s even a cafe called „Romantika” 🙂 A very nice seaside park is also Maltepe Sahil. Thanks to the large number of parking places places you can easily go there by car and not worry about a stopover. Beside playgrounds and benches, there are also several sport facilities, many coffee houses, restaurants and even Migros market nearby 😉

I can also recommend the botanic garden Nezahat Gökyiğit situated between Ataşehir and Ümraniye. This is a peaceful place, full of different species of plants. What’s different than other European botanic gardens is that you can enter Nezahat Gökyiğit for free.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have much experience with European side but I would like to introduce you parks I enjoyed. First one is Gülhane Park. It’s not called as the historical park without reason. This place is situated just beside Topkapı Palace. There’re plenty of museums around, and furthermore, it’s very close to the two most important monuments in the city – Aya Sofia and Blue Mosque Sultanahmet. The park itself is absolutely charmingit’s full of tulips and other flowers, alleys, sculptures, streams with fountains, benches… Just for the short relax in the heart of Istanbul. We shouldn’t be surprised, that was recognized as the most beautiful park in the former Constantinople. Another place I liked is the Sporcular Parkı in Levent. There’s lots of greenery, space to run and even a small cafe. There are several sports facilities around.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania park Gulhane
Gülhane Park. Source: Google

It’s worth noting, that in most of the parks and seaside promenades there’re  regularly kept clean toilets. The fee is 1 Turkish lira (=0,25 euro) – you can use the coin or Istanbulkart mentioned in the previous blogpost 🙂 Each of them provides changing tables for inflants. And here I’m going to say the very imporant info – they are both on the women’s and men’s side! So Gentlemen – if it is your turn to change diapers, you can’t avoid it anymore 😉 Photos have been taken in Göztepe 60. Yıl Park.

 

4) Legoland I have good news for Lego fans – in Istanbul near the SeaLife Aquarium, there’s a huge recreational complex Legoland where, for example, you can see the city in the block version 🙂 It seems, this is a place rather for bigger children, but Legoland is also friendly to the youngest travelers. There’re also many facilities for strollers and family restrooms where you can change diapers. Furthermore, already year-old children can practice their manual skills by playing (however, you should choose places with larger blocks).

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Legoland in Istanbul. Source: Istanbul Tour Studio Blog

5) And out of city?

There are four Princess Islands in the Anatolian part of Istanbul available for tourists: Büyükada, Heybeliada, Burgazada i Kınalıada. I’ve visited two first islands and I think, that they are lovely places for a walk or a picnic. Most of Turks will tell you, the best way of sightseeing would be taking bike (in case of trip with toddler a bicycle seat is necessary, but I’m not sure, if renting companies provide them). The biggest advantage of islands is the opportunity to relax from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the natureon the Princess Islands car traffic is highly limited, so on the roads you can see mostly bicycles and horse-drawn carriages. To get there from the city you need to use ferry, so-called vapur. It departs from Bostancı, Eminönü and Kadıköy.

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Heybeliada Island

You can also go to the nearby city of Darıca in the Izmit province. There’s a ZOO („Faruk Yalçın Hayvanat Bahçesi„). Children under the age of three enter for free. Discount tickets are 30 TL, adults pay 40 TL.

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6) How about going shopping with baby?…

Generally, I don’t recommend going to shopping malls with an infant – especially to Turkish centres.  At the entrance you’re exposed to radiation, because you go through the gates and your bags are x-rayed like at the airport. Shopping malls are big and noisy. But we all know… We often don’t have a choice. However, in the Asian district Ataşehir there’s a shopping centre, you can go with toddler in a peace – especially in nice weather. It’s Watergarden. The name of this complex is absolutely not accidental. The building is surrounded by a large network of fountains, where the show takes place every hour. You can watch it actually from every side, because most of shops has an exit to outside (you can see the movie from the performace HERE). Restaurants and cafes are located on the lowest level and have an outdoor area next to the water. There is a small playground on the roof. There’re a lot of shops there and an internal cafe directed to parents with children (however I miss a store like Joker or eBebek). At the lowest level near the parking area there’s the Migros market, where we have a wide range of products. Nursery rooms are clean and convenient. Near the mall we can visit a bazaar with organic products as well. And the very important thing – there’re no gates and screening machines at the entrance.

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Watergarden

If you went to Istanbul with your bigger child, there’s Kidzania in Akasya shopping mall. It’s a place where children from the age of 4 can develop their hobbies and gain some practical skills 🙂 (unfortunately, Turkish website doesn’t have English version) The ticket for child costs 75 TL. If the parent accompanies them, the additional fee is 35 TL.

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Moreover, all the Istanbul aquariums are located beside shopping malls, so if you need, you can go for quick shopping.

 

Istanbul is a dynamically developing city and new places are being established here all the time. If we visit another destination from Bibi, we’ll surely let you know on our blog 😉 In the next article I’ll write about the physical activities for moms and babies in Turkey.

 

Polski

Let’s go to Istanbul! Part 2 :)

Hello again!

In today’s entry I’ll talk about moving around Istanbul – I mean especially the way from the airport. Because we got to Istanbul and what’s then? We need to handle with it somehow 😀

Before I get to the main point, I want to remind you about buying e-visa for you and your toddlers before journey. The official website describes the whole process step by step and it’s available in many languages. Buying visa online is much better option than stucking in additional queues to get your visa at the airport.

 

Taxi

There are many different transport companies in Istanbul, however I will mention here the one I used while traveling with Bibi. I highly recommend Bitransfer as an transportation from/to the airport. You can book a cab through the Internet according to the planned arrival time, choose the car and pay online in the end. For example (like in the attached picture) the way from the Atatürk Airport (Europe) to Göztepe (Asia) by Mercedes Vito is here 143 TRY per car (around 30 euro). I admit, it’s not the cheapest mean of transport, but I think, it’s worthy to use it traveling with baby.

Vito

Each car contains a baby-seat (which is hard to get in other taxis) – you can order additional one as well. This cab is perfect for a family of six. The rear windows are tinted, there’s air condition, and, in case of thirst, various drinks are available. The seats are really convenient! I confirm also the rest of described facilities 🙂 Although it’s written, you should get to your destination in around an hour, we got to Kadıköy after 20 minutes! It’s because of Avrasya Tunnel, through which cars quickly get to the other continent 🙂

I obviously realize, ordering Bitransfer everyday could make you a bancrupt. Standard taxis in Turkey are inexpensive and you don’t have to order them in advance. You can just stand beside the street and stop any available yellow car (mostly Fiat or Hyundai) 🙂 Unfortunately, they don’t guarantee baby-seats – baby below the age of one can simply use their own portable car seat, but with elder child it can be problem. Turks usually don’t care so much about it, because this case isn’t specifically sanctioned and kids often  sit on parent’s lap. However, for foreign tourists it can be a discomfort. Another case we must pay attention on is, that taking a taxi to home/hotel… it’s better to know the way and show it to driver, preferably in Turkish (that’s why you must remember: “sağ – right”, “sol – left” and “düz – straight”) 😉

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Source: aturquia.com

Public transportation

To move around Istanbul by public transportation you must obtain the Istanbulkart. You can buy it in specific points. I paid for it around 10 TL (2,50 euro). It’s the magnetic card, you firstly recharge with chosen amount in the Biletmatik machine or in specific newsstands. Then, while entering the vehicle, you validate it in the special reader. HERE you can see the prices for the passage. In case of anonymous card (the one you can give later to someone else) the month ticket is 200 TL (50 euro), so it makes a sense, when you stay in Turkey more than two weeks. A bit cheaper (180 TL – 45 euro) is month ticket with MaviKart – but you need to give a little bit effort to make it and you must attach your photo as well, so it’s rather the option for regular visitors 😉 Btw. With Istanbulkart you can pay not only for transportation, but eg. for public toilet or parking area.

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But firstly, how to get to the other continent? (Istanbul is situated in Europe and Asia)
Marmarayit’s the kind of subway going through the tunnel under the Bosporus strait. It departs approximately every 10 minutes.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania marmaray schedule

Marmaray

Metrobusa special fast bus going on the separate lane to the other continent,  usually avoiding traffic jams (unless you cross the Boğazici Bridge at the Bosporus strait – there everyone goes slower). During day metrobus comes approximately every 3 minutes. During night – every half an hour/ one hour (and it’s usually crowded). Btw. In case you go by Metrobus up to three stations, you can be given back a part of the fee putting your Istanbulkart onto the reader at the exit.

metrobus
Source: iett.istanbul

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Vapurthe ferry departing every 20 minutes. On the Asian side you can enter vapur at the harbors in Kadıköy, Üsküdar and Bostancı. On the European side you can catch the ferry in Beşiktaş, Eminönü and Karaköy. The average length of journey is 20-30 minutes. For me it’s the most pleasant mean of transport in Istanbul 🙂

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Atatürk Airport (Europe)

The place you can buy Istanbulkart is situated at the “Atatürk Airport” (tr. Atatürk Havalimani) metro station. If your place of residence is at the Asian side, the most reasonable solution would be exiting the terminal station called “Yenikapı” and change to Marmaray. Then you exit in the closest station to your house/hotel or where you have a direct connection.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania haciosman yenikapi metro
Metro line Atatürk Airport (Havalimani) – Yenikapı. The Yenikapı station has an access to Marmaray.
Metro-Marmaray
The map of specific metro lines in Istanbul with transfer from subway to Marmaray 🙂 Source: metro.istanbul

Sabiha Gökçen Airport (Asia)

You can buy Istanbulkart in the newsstand by exit at the departures zone. This airport doesn’t have an access to subway (however, I heard, it should change soon), but there are plenty of buses going to many destinations. There are standard buses (with numbers on the front or “SG” letters) and also fast, but more expensive ones (with letter E in the beginning). To go directly to the European side you can take the express bus E-3 (terminal station – 4. Levent Metro), standard 122H bus ( 4. Levent Metro as well)  or SG-2 (going even further, to Taksim, but the mentioned station Levent is on the way). All the written terminal stations have the access to subway. Another option is taking bus number 16S going to the station called Metrobus Uzunçayır (still in Asia) and then entering the mentioned metrobus. However, I don’t recommend this mean of transport at rush hours (between 7:00-9:00AM and around 3:00PM), because they’re very crowded then.

Znalezione obrazy dla zapytania haciosman yenikapi metro
Metro line Yenika-Hacıosman with transfer opportunities. As I’ve said before, the first station has an access to Marmaray as well.

The full maps of subway, Marmaray, trams and Metrobus together you can find HERE

Application to download: Moovit

You can also check schedules through the official website of IETT, but I’ve noticed, it hasn’t been updated for a while. Google Maps handles with this issue quite well 🙂

 

In the next entry I’m going to talk about the places in Istanbul you can go for a walk with baby 🙂

 

Polski

Let’s go to Istanbul! Part 1 :)

My Darlings!

Today I am going to start the Turkish plot, or actually Istanbul. I will write at least a few blogposts about Turkey, because Bibi has her second family there, that’s why we go there quite often. In this case I can say a little bit more about this country 🙂

I will start from the very important topic – e-visa. Citizens of many states don’t have to go to embassy – they can quickly buy e-visa online. You just need to enter  https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ , fill the form, pay 20 USD per person (children, infants included, need to have their own e-visa according to personal data in their passport) and then print the visa or download it to smartphone or tablet. The webpage is available in many language versions. You can obviously buy a visa at the airport, but you will pay more and stay longer in the queues. Atatürk Airport is enough crowded, so why should we provide more stress to our Toddlers?

evisa

How to get to Istanbul with a baby? When I was a student and I didn’t want my Parents to pay for my flight ticket, I was often wondering with my friends going abroad (Erasmus, AIESEC projects, visiting boyfriend or close friends) how to get there in the cheapest way: trains and buses with changes, flights from Ukraine… and the brave ones were taking hitch-hike. In case of voyages to Turkey with baby only airplane actually can be considered (unless you live in the neighboring country). Because how can we imagine going with toddler by bus more than 24 hours? Or multiple train changes? Or waving your thumb with baby carrier along the road? Well, not really 🙂 But no worries, you can go to Istanbul with baby without going bankrupt 🙂

Below I have written the airlines I used with Bibi departing from Warsaw. In the end I’ll show you another options, though podium is the most recommended by me 🙂

1) Turkish Airlinesit was always my airline number one, but I wasn’t always able to buy tickets for them. If you plan your journey earlier, you’ll be possibly able to book a flight for 200 euro/round ticket. Prices, however, most often range between 300 and 450 euro. Turkish airlines have plenty of advantages. Firstly, the flight is direct, so the journey is much faster. Secondly, the price of ticket involves a hot meal, which is quite important for breastfeeding women. Thirdly, many facilities are provided here (convenient seats, tablet for watching movies and listening to music, more restrooms with changing tables). Furthermore, last times cabin crew was giving baby jars with fruits or vegetables, which obviously can be useful 🙂 Sometimes we could also get children’s newsletters.

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Baby jars with fruit and vegetables Bibi has gotten on Turkish Airlines board 🙂
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And this is my meal 😀

2) LOTanother airline with flights to Turkey and actually almost everywhere 🙂 Our national air carrier maybe isn’t the cheapest, but it offers various discounts (last time you could buy a round ticket from Warsaw to Istanbul for 150 euro). Usually the prices are starting from 250 euro, so it’s a bit cheaper than „Turkish Airlines”. Short time ago they didn’t provide any gadgets for babies, but during the last flight Bibi received coloring pages with pencils 🙂 Tea, coffee and water are for free, but food isn’t. Fortunately, the price for a hot meal (chicken breast in cheese sauce with gnocchi and green bean) is quite inexpensive – I paid 3 euro, which is less than for sandwich 😛 Fruit tubes for kids cost 1,5 euro.

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3) AEGEANGreek airline I used while flying the first time with Bibi to Istanbul. I had a transfer in Athens waiting two hours between flights  (this airport is so big, it’s easy to get lost). The advantages are: affordable prices (usually less than 250 euro for round ticket), hot meals included, kind and helpful stewardesses and also a little package of baby wipes and a car sticker 😀

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aegean baby
Source: Official webpage of AEGEAN. However Bibi has gotten exactly the same wipes and sticker 🙂

4) Ukrainian International Airlinesquite popular and inexpensive option is also UIA. However this topic is so wide I’ve written the separate entry about it. You can read it HERE.

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What else can you fly with?
In search engines you can also find Lufthansa with transfer in Germany. However, I haven’t used this air carrier yet. When I fly with this ariline, I will write a separate post about it 🙂

You can also use the Turkish low-cost PEGASUS. The price of a standard ticket involves a registered luggage up to 20 kg and you can get to Istanbul directly from Germany, France, Ukraine or Prague (not from Poland unfortunately 😉 ). But don’t expect the facilities like in the first three mentioned airlines. Like in UIA, you can consider this option when you need to concern on your budget.

If the flights are illogically expensive, the last option is taking a charter flight to Antalya and then catching a direct plane to Istanbul (probably with mentioned Pegasus airline).

 

From 2014 till 2016 quite nice airline called Air Serbia used to fly to Istanbul.  The flight was inexpensive, waiting time during transfer in Belgrad wasn’t long and on board sandwiches, cookies and chosen drinks were provided. Cabin crew was always nice and willing to help with babies.  Unfortunately, they don’t fly to Turkey anymore 😦 I hope, these connections will be returned one day.

 

Next entry will be about moving around Istanbul, which is definitely book-size topic 😉 Stay with us!

 

Polski