Jolly Good Fun

You don’t have to be in a land of snow and mistletoe to get into the holiday spirit, especially not if you are an IWI (International Women of Istanbul) member. On December 8th, they hosted a great Christmas Bazaar selling Christmas goodies, crafts and much more…

(Which I couldn’t attend as our family of four was having our own Christmas celebration…we actually were able to drag our teenies out two nights in a row, first to a showing of the Christmas Carol and then to a Christmas feast that I fortunately did not have to prepare (I was still recovering from the first Thanksgiving turkey I ever cooked). The Christmas Carol production, put on by a small troupe from London, was minimalistic but brilliant. Dickens didn’t know he was so funny. It went over much better than the Nutcracker at the renovated Bolshoi…one reason why I waited until the last minute to tell the kids we were taking them to the theater again…why be a glutton for punishment?)

…and on December 10th, they hosted a Christmas lunch at the 360 restaurant in Istanbul.

(A great restaurant with a superb view if you ever make it to Istanbul.)

Five ladies and I crammed ourselves into our vehicle. I had offered to drive, not realizing that the two seats in the far back of our car were designed for toddlers. Fortunately, my friends stuck in the back had good humors and flexible limbs.

It was fortunate, too, that we were all in decent physical shape because the bottleneck at the sole elevator leading up to the restaurant gave one of us the great idea to walk up the thousand or so steps to the restaurant. Not sure who came up with the idea, but we all followed along like sheep.

(Albeit sweating, huffing and puffing sheep).

(But dessert was later consumed with much less guilt, so the sweaty effort paid off.)


We arrived at 360 and were greeted with a glass of hot, spicy and sweet gluhwein. After some chatting, drinking and a broken glass (it’s not a party until something is broken, right?), we sat down to eat.

And to listen to Frank Sinatra live.


Okay, not really ‘ol Blue Eyes, but he sounded just like him. He and a very talented friend of ours provided Christmasy entertainment while the rest of us stuffed our face with good food.

The starter…


Another appetizer for weight-conscious folk…


Actually, no, it was the soup, but when it first arrived sans liquid, we had a pretty good chuckle…


The main event…

IMG_4966 IMG_4968

And the dessert…

(No, you aren’t going blind. I am still waiting for the picture from my friend. My phone was extremely low on battery by the time we got to the dessert, and I didn’t dare take more pics and risk draining by battery and make myself incommunicado to spouse and offspring.)

The food was as good as the entertainment, and so was the company. Nothing like good food and Christmas songs to get ladies in the festive spirit.


(And the wine might have had something to do with it, as well. What is it about drinking during the day packing such a stronger punch than imbibing in the evening?)

A good time was had by all, and we waddled back home four hours later (and we were some of the first to leave).

And if the Christmas lunch wasn’t enough to set the holiday spirit into motion, then the snow storm that followed it definitely did.

And the boys got an early Christmas present: TWO snow days!

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