I was so excited to write this post with New Years being such a special celebration for the Turkish and for them to be truly deserving a lovely time after the terror they have faced throughout 2016. I felt sure that they were looking forward to a new and brighter year just like we were too and they should have had this.
The night started off quietly, we were off to our friend’s house party in this lovely bohemian neighbourhood called Cihangir. With the party not kicking off until 10pm, we had plans to have a nice dinner out but settled for ordering pide (Turkish pizza!) as quite frankly, Martin was in a full on gaming session and I was taking ages getting ready (typical!). It was a lovely, chilled out dinner where we could do a bit of reflecting on our past year and get ready to welcome in 2017.
We left ours at 10pm and headed to the Metro, it was quiet. We proceeded to Taksim which is where there are normally lots of people and sometimes trouble. So we were feeling a bit apprehensive, but when we arrived we had a full body and bag search, looked around and it was so quiet. People really were just passing through, making their way to celebrations but there weren’t very many people doing this. It had an eerie feel and very much felt like Istanbul’s soul had perhaps tucked itself in bed for the night. It was sad to see but we were happy to see that at least some people were smiling and heading out to their celebrations.
We arrived at our friends and had a lovely time bringing in the new year surrounded by many amazing friends. It was a poignant time for us thinking about how ill my mum had been this time last year and how we’d spent last year crying into the new year at the thought of a bleak future for my mum. Overall though, I was in good spirits and looking forward to a new year filled with exciting and positive times for our family, friends and hopefully Turkey and here’s the moment the clock hit 12am!
When we found out about the attack at Reina nightclub we really weren’t sure what had happened with ideas involving a rich kid going crazy and opening fire, and we were all wondering if it wasn’t this, would there be attacks anywhere else… it was scary. Some people at the party worked for news teams and quickly darted off when the news broke. We hung around for a while but decided to make tracks at about 2.30am. We could’t get a taxi, they all kept telling us our road was closed (we live off of one of the main roads though Istanbul, it wasn’t closed!) they just wanted bigger fares, so we walked all the way home and got pretty soaked. We walked through some dodgy areas and didn’t feel very safe at all but it was the only way and we got home fine. There was a lot of police presence too so that made us feel a little better, (the crazy Turkish taxi drivers did not, with several near miss accidents we thought we were going to witness!)
We woke up today (New Year’s Day) full of sadness for the victims of this most recent attack. All young innocent people who just wanted to celebrate the turn of the new year. They deserved this, their family and friends of friends deserved this, everyone deserved this but now the country starts the new year so grimly. New Year really should be a positive and joyful time when you reflect on the past and look forward to turning the next page of your book creating new adventures. To have just been hit by a fresh bout of terror is just horrible for Turkey and our thoughts really are with our beautiful country that we call home but we know that they will keep fighting and we are so proud of them and their courage.
Today we will be glued to updates in the news, wishing Happy New Year to all of our amazing family and friends and be thankful for everything we have. I also just want to say Happy New Year to everyone reading this and please make sure that your family and friends all know how much you love them.
Look forward to writing a more positive blog on this amazing country soon. Take care and hope you’ve all had lovely New Years Eves and Days.