I have just been back to England, and am still full of memories and photos to share from my homeland, Turkey. I think one is the happiest when surrounded by favorite sights to touch the soul and loved ones – Istanbul sums it up all for me. This is Ask Cafe by the Bosphorus with Aegean colours and great views.
Is there anything more Turkish than a glass of cay (Turkish tea) served at the tulip shaped glass and Simit – savory, sesame coated round pastries that is sold on street stalls all around Istanbul- Add some white cheese and sliced tomatoes by the side, it is the ultimate breakfast for me:) How about the view? Right by the Bosphorus – water strait that divides the city into two continents-, overlooking turquoise water and boats passing by, I can spend the whole day drinking cay there!:)
This is the end of Bosphorus, start of the Sea of Marmara – I love this spot in Karakoy, at the European side, with spectacular view of the Topkapi Palace. Traditional ferries zig zag between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul- a great way to travel within the city.
A group of fishermen fishing at the Sea of Marmara.
Now we are in Old Istanbul; Sultanahmet in Old Istanbul hosts amazing sights like Hagia Sophia – the Church of the Divine Wisdom, completed in 537. Now museum, Hagia Sophia was the largest church in the world prior to St Peter’s in Rome – what a sight.
Right across the Hagia Sophia is the spectacular Blue Mosque with six minarets and beautiful blue Iznik tiles inside. This is the entrance of the Blue Mosque – since it is the holly month of Ramadan at the moment, Blue Mosque is packed with locals as well as tourists.
Some lovely tiles and painting at the interior court at the Blue Mosque.
Hotel Armada at Sultanahmet is my favorite location to stay in Old Istanbul, I have been going back there over 10 years, and each time is like coming home. The friendly staff is there since I knew them, and this charming hotel has spectacular views of Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque at one side, the Sea of Marmara on the other.
The breakfast buffet at the Armada Hotel is to die for, makes me dream about the olives,figs,dried apricot, homemade jam a night before, always:)For more information, please check out www.armadahotel.com.tr
This is the terrace of Armada, overlooking the Blue Mosque. We were there for an Iftar meal as a family. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for a month. Breaking the fast meal is called Iftar meal, and I love the fact that families and friends gather to give thanks and enjoy the meal together. Huge pots of tea is placed at every table, as Turks love tea, cay, and is consumed during as well as after the Iftar meal.
At traditional Iftar meal, sesame coated flat breads, olives, dates, Turkish sausage and pastrami (dried cured stripes of beef, coated with spices), cheese, vegetables cooked in olive oil (like stuffed cabbage leaves) is served. This is followed by soup and meat based dishes. And ends with desserts like baklava or sutlac (flaky pastry sheets soaked in a milky sauce, served with pomegranates)or fruit – quite a feast!
I hope you get to go to the places that touches your soul and reach out to the loved ones. Gorusmek uzere – See you next week for more photos and recipes!