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Greetings from Istanbul! Sights, people and food, glorious food

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi - the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

The Bosphorus bridge, Kiz Kulesi – the Maiden tower and the glorious Bosphorus

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 and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek and pogaca; a very warm welcome home

Cay, peynirli borek, Turkish tray bake pastry with cheese and parsley and pogaca made a very warm welcome home.

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

Turkish mezzes and vegetables cooked in olive oil

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.

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

Enjoying a glass of cay and Turkish breakfast with dear friends at Rumelihisari, Istanbul

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.

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

Sigara boregi, ciborek, freshly squeezed orange juice and many more; Turkish breakfast

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.

Ciborek with a smile

Ciborek with a smile

Gozleme; Anatolian flatbreads with fillings

Gozleme; Anatolian flat breads with fillings

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 –

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

The traditional ferries, vapur, is an ideal way to cross the Bosphorus

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

My son trying the telescope at the ferry

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.

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur - one of my favorite rituals

Simit and a glass of cay at the ferry, vapur – one of my favorite rituals

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, over the Bosphorus

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.

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

Freshly baked Simit at the local bakery, firin

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.

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Sigara boregi, cheese rolls with filo pastry and Simit, sesame encrusted Turkish bread rings galore at Simit Molasi, Besiktas

Next stop is Ortakoy;  lovely to see the restoration at the Ortakoy Mosque is compiled – looks fascinating.

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

Ortakoy Mosque, Istanbul

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.

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy - Istanbul

Freshly ground Turkish coffee at Meraklilar Kuruyemiscisi, Ortakoy – Istanbul

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.

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

Charming horse carriages at Burgazada

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.

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Market day in Burgazada; fresh produce in abundance

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Sivri biber, green pointy peppers and eggplant, patlican at Burgazada.

Preserved vine leaves, ready for stuffing, so inviting – presented with a wonderful smile.

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Vine leaves, sold at Burgazada, ready for stuffing

Time to say farewell and see you soon, many thanks to Mark and Jolee for having us at Burgazada!

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

Visiting dear friends at Burgazada

With best wishes to all; hope to be in touch from Bodrum!

Ozlem

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15 Responses to Greetings from Istanbul! Sights, people and food, glorious food

  1. senior dogs abroad August 2, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    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

    • Ozlem Warren August 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

      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

  2. Deborah Groom August 2, 2014 at 5:09 am #

    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

    • Ozlem Warren August 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

      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

  3. Alan August 2, 2014 at 5:16 am #

    . . what a delightful post – your enthusiasm is palpable! See you soon!

    • Ozlem Warren August 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm #

      Cheers Alan, just made it to Bodrum – really hope we can meet up!:)

  4. Peri's Spice Ladle August 2, 2014 at 5:37 am #

    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.

    • Ozlem Warren August 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

      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

  5. Turkey's For Life August 2, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    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.
    Julia

    • Ozlem Warren August 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      Cok tesekkurler, very kind! Always a happy feeling being back home and truly hope we get to meet up later on! Cok sevgiler, Ozlem

  6. Mia August 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    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.

    • Ozlem Warren August 14, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

      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

    • Ozlem Warren September 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      Merhaba Mia, so glad you have such fond memories of visiting Istanbul, really a magical city – hope you come back soon!

  7. M Vella September 2, 2014 at 7:57 am #

    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!

    • Ozlem Warren September 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Merhaba, many thanks for your kind note! Enjoy Istanbul in September, such a wonderful time to visit, glad you’re enjoying the posts!

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