Istanbul’dan merhaba! Home, sweet home; I think the more I age, home, my roots calls me even more eagerly, it is wonderful to be back home. Here are a few snap shots of what we have been up to.
It’s been only a few days since we’ve been here and we managed to fit in a lot of family visits and said “Mutlu Bayramlar.” I especially enjoyed having a chance to visit the elderly with the children, hearing their stories to them, such precious moments to savour. Istanbul is the place to be during the Bayram holiday as most folks left for holidays. So wonderful to be able to enjoy the city minus the traffic.
Cay, peynirli borek, Turkish tray bake pastry with cheese and parsley and pogaca made a very warm welcome home.
One of the things I very much long is enjoying a vast array of freshly prepared mezzes and enjoying them along the Bosphorus. With a beautiful breeze and friends and family nearby, it is heavenly.
I was grateful that a few dear friends were still in Istanbul during Bayram and we enjoyed a long, leisurely Turkish breakfast and multiple glasses of cay at Rumelihisari, Sade Kahve.
Gozlemes, Anatolian flat breads with fillings are made at the oval sac oven in front of you, with an infectious smile. Impossible to pass on.
And we’re off again; this time taking the ferry, vapur, to visit our dear, elderly aunt with the children. I love traveling with the traditional ferries, vapur; it is nostalgic, offers spectacular views and a wonderful way to be a part of the local life. The ferry itself promises a lot of fun and excitement to us all. Children loved looking at to the sights with the ferry’s telescope – only 1 TL –
Of course, one can also have a delightful glass of cay and Simit, sesame encrusted bread rings to nibble while on the ferry – again, served with a wonderful smile.
Once in Kadikoy, we decided we need more Simit; so popped in the local bakery to get some more, along with some white cheese, beyaz peynir and tomatoes for the afternoon tea at our Meskure Hala, our dear aunt.
The following day started with a visit to Besiktas; I love Besiktas Carsisi; it’s market, small scale shops, fish monger and endless eatries. It has a village feel where folks greet one another, get their daily bread from the bakery, firin, the Turkish coffee and nuts from the local kuruyemisci; the list goes on and on. I got lost for words at Simit Molasi Cafe – Sigara Boregi; pastry rolls with cheese and parsley for us. And more simit, if one desires more.
Next stop is Ortakoy; lovely to see the restoration at the Ortakoy Mosque is compiled – looks fascinating.
If you’re after a really good quality Turkish delight, have a look at Yeni Ugur Helvacisi in Ortakoy; I loved their new Turkish delight with pomegranates, they are packed with flavor. If you fancy making your own Turkish Delight, here is my home made Turkish Delight recipe.
Last stop, freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy; smells heavenly. Hope you enjoy yours, Turkish coffee really is more than a drink – afiyet olsun!
A delightful visit to Burgazada, Burgaz Island
It’s our last day in Istanbul before we depart for Bodrum and we took the ferry to Burgazada, one of the Princes’ islands near to Istanbul. Children got very excited with the prospect of getting on the ferry again and riding bicycle in the Island. We had a special purpose of this visit too, as we arranged to meet up with dear Mark and Jolee from the wonderful blog Senior Dogs Abroad. Mark and Jolee live in Istanbul and blog about the life in Turkey as well as world affairs, they’re a pleasure to follow, a delightful company.
No vehicles are allowed in the island except the horse carriages and bicycles, which makes the islands even more inviting; a breath of fresh air.
Friday is the Market day, Pazar in Burgazada and I am grateful that the Senior Dogs kindly guided us to the right direction! Fresh, breathtaking produce galore; one can easily spend a day there, just wonderful.
Preserved vine leaves, ready for stuffing, so inviting – presented with a wonderful smile.
Time to say farewell and see you soon, many thanks to Mark and Jolee for having us at Burgazada!
With best wishes to all; hope to be in touch from Bodrum!
Özlem’ciğim, It was such a treat and an honor to have you and your lovely family come to Burgazada to visit us. Really, we had such a good time with Mark, Emma, Defne, Can and Öznur. We hope that ın the future, we can have many, many more meet-ups and fun together. Isn’t it wonderful that our blogs brought all of us together. Çok öpüyoruz, çok sevgiler. Senior dogs Mark and Jolee
Merhaba sevgili Mark and Jolee, the pleasure is all ours; it really was lovely to be able to get to see you in your lovely Burgazada – Mark still talks about the cycling!- and I could have easily spent ours chatting, catching up and soaking up the island, what a treasure you have there. Please enjoy your gorgeous pazar for me – I felt so bad that I couldn’t go back to the vine leaves lady, next time for sure!- and we all hope to see you both again soon – this time breakfast at our local place by the Bosphorus : ) Cok sevgilerimizle, Ozlem xx
It is really such a treat to read your words and see your photos. You are a very gifted writer and it was a pleasure to be along for the trip with you andyour family. To me you represent Turkey with such respect and kindness. This is the Turkey that I hope everyone gets a chance to see. Thank you, Deb
So very kind of you dear Debbie, I am humbled and honored by your very kind words, thank you so very much for this wonderful note – made my day!:) This is the country I love and has such goodness, richness in it to share; if I can anyway help to get the word out, that’s a very happy feeling, thanks so much again. Enjoy your time in Istanbul, cok sevgiler, Ozlem
. . what a delightful post – your enthusiasm is palpable! See you soon!
Cheers Alan, just made it to Bodrum – really hope we can meet up!:)
Oh what a lovely post with such delightful sights and food from Istanbul:) you’re so right, Ozlem, visits back to our native land become more precious each time…so much to show our growing kids. Have an amazing time with family and friends. XxPeri.
Many thanks Peri, I know you understand how I feel; these visits are very precious especially for the children, to understand and be a part of their heritage, invaluable. Lovely to be here : ) Much love, Ozlem xx
Looks like Istanbul has treated you and your family well, Özlem. A lovely set of photos from your time there. Hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Turkey – am sure you will 🙂 – and we’ll hopefully see you when you’ve hit the south.
Cok tesekkurler, very kind! Always a happy feeling being back home and truly hope we get to meet up later on! Cok sevgiler, Ozlem
Beautiful, beautiful Istanbul! My husband and I are from Canada; we visited Istanbul for 13 days 2 years ago. It was, I can honestly say, the best trip of our lives. The people were gracious, innately polite and kind. The food was fantastic ( I subscribe to this blog for recipes etc as I now cook Turkish food all of the time ). Being in that most ancient and beautiful city was wonderful, and we so hope to return one day.
Merhaba Mia, many thanks for stopping by – so glad you enjoyed your trip to Istanbul, such a magical city. I am thrilled that you’re now recreating the Turkish recipes here in this blog, fantastic! Afiyet olsun and hope you return sometime soon, Ozlem
Merhaba Mia, so glad you have such fond memories of visiting Istanbul, really a magical city – hope you come back soon!
Hi, I’ll be going over to Turkey for my holidays this September and I’m looking forward to it very much. My daughter visited there for day as her cruise ship stooped there and she loved it! My husband and I are both very much into trying out new food and we intend to try as much of the local cuisine as possible. Thanks for your newsletter!
Merhaba, many thanks for your kind note! Enjoy Istanbul in September, such a wonderful time to visit, glad you’re enjoying the posts!