Riding in a Surrey with the Fringe on Top

Who knew I would be in Turkey — as opposed to Oklahoma — when John took me for a ride in “a surrey with the fringe on top?” Sounds incongruous, yet that’s exactly what happened.

We set out early this morning to catch the ferry across the Bosphorous to visit Dolmabahce Palace — one of several palaces that line both shorelines on Istanbul.


We arrived at The Palace only to discover it is closed on Thursdays so we’ll have to visit it another day.

As it was a beautiful, sunny day, we decided to visit Princes’ Islands, a chain of nine small islands right off the southeast coast of Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara.


During the Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the islands were used as prisons. They derive their name from the princes who were exiled there, along with other trouble-making royal family members. We visited the big island, Buyukada, which became a resort for the wealthy in the 19th century. Many Victorian-era mansions populate the island.



No cars are allowed on the island, so you have three ways to get around: walking, riding a bike or, you guessed it, touring via phaeton — in the U.S it’s known as a “surrey with the fringe on top.”

John and I hoofed it (pardon the pun) on foot for a couple of miles before we succumbed to the comfort of a phaeton.

In addition to beautiful, old homes, we spotted a flock of sheep

and something that looked and tasted a lot like pizza.

We spent the hour-long ferry ride back to Istanbul in conversation with a wonderfully cordial Iranian family on holiday in Istanbul. Lucky for us, their English was quite good as we don’t speak Persian. I was reminded again that our similarities as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers — children of a loving God — out number the political differences that drive our governments.

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