December was a whirlwind of a month to say the least. I started the month out in Krakow, and spent most of it in Turkey visiting family, watching my sister-in-law get married, and being spoiled with homemade Turkish meals. While winter may not be my favorite time to travel (unless it’s to a warm tropical location), it was good to see a different side of Izmir, besides the summery one that I’m use to.
Here’s what I got up to in December.
Meeting up with family in Poland. On the last night in Krakow, Mustafa and I met up with a few of my relatives at a local restaurant. We swapped stories, old photos were shown, and many pierogi were consumed, including my favorite fruit-filled ones.
Attending my sister-in-law’s wedding. There was a quick civil ceremony and then an all-night party fueled by raki and plenty of dancing. It fit her perfectly and I was so happy to be there to celebrate.
Spending a week at a hot springs resort in Turkey. It was the perfect post-wedding wind down spot to rest and recover. I had my first Turkish bath experience, where my mother-in-law lovingly scrubbed me down.
Coming home for Christmas. After a 20-hour layover in Frankfurt, we arrive in San Francisco just in time for Christmas dinner and the gift exchange. Despite our extreme jet lag, it was so good to be home in time to celebrate Christmas.
Navigating missed or canceled flights. I have the worst luck with connecting flights, and this trip was no different. Le sigh. In Warsaw, our flight was canceled due to a snowstorm, so we had to take a five-hour bus ride to Krakow instead. Another time, we missed our connection in Athens going to Izmir, so we had to wait six hours for the next flight in the middle of the night. Though the travel gods smiled on us on the way back because we got to have a whole row of seats to ourselves, and on a separate flight, we were also seated in the front row of the plane.
Getting sick in Turkey. Despite all the zinc, I couldn’t ward off a pesky chest cold when I arrived in Izmir. Thankfully, I got sick after the wedding and could properly rest. The worst part though was the major bloody noses that were a result of my irritated nose and that left me lightheaded and panicked.
Having major pangs of homesickness for the holidays. I always have mixed feelings about traveling during the holidays, and being gone most of the month I missed being surrounded by general holiday merriment.
Café Camelot (Krakow). This café is great year-round, but during the winter it’s especially cozy with its candlelit tables and seasonal fruit teas with slices of real fruit. We went there for both brunch and then again for a late night snack just because it was so good.
All the Turkish food. Visiting Turkey in the winter meant being introduced to a whole new selection of seasonal foods. Soups with yogurt and lentils, and a pumpkin dessert that I still cannot stop thinking about.
Lou’s Sushi (Sacramento). After a month-long hiatus of sushi, this popular spot in Sacramento was a great place to satisfy our cravings. It was reasonably priced and the fish was very fresh. Highly recommended.