BesikduzuIn my experience, extended family and travel usually don’t go well. In my case, the challenges are greater because I’m American and my husband is Turkish. It’s not that I don’t like my in-laws, it’s just that we have such different ideas about family vacation fun in Turkey.

Whenever we visit my parents-in-law, Sevim and Muzaffer, they prefer to stick close to home on the Black Sea. “Why go out?” they ask, “We have everything we need here at home.”

Except for one disastrous road trip (two in-laws, one toddler, one nursing infant, one over-tired mom, and one harried husband – need I say more?) one fabulous trip when we escaped to the five-star Belcekiz Beach Holiday Village, and some fun dolmus rides around Istanbul, our annual treks to Turkey are usually spent at the family home in Besikduzu where my mother-in-law fattens us with her home-made baklava, Turkey’s version of clotted cream, kaymak ,and the thick, gooey mulberry molasses called pekmez.

All washed down with copious amounts of tea, of course.

From my kids’ point of view, a visit with their Turkish grandparents is a slice of heaven. Eat, sleep and play all day – that’s the basic rhythm of vacations at Baba anne’s and Dede’s house.

Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good recipe for summer fun no matter where you are.

Justine Ickes, a contributing writer for Washington Parent, writes about travel, culture, parenting and people making a difference.