Delicious and Delightful Istanbul
Typically, when I travel I opt for off the beaten path locales, but since I had such limited time in Istanbul, I ended up being one of "those" people and walked in the well trod path the slew of tourists who came before me had laid out.
I don't know which I enjoyed more...how friendly the Turkish people are, or how amazing their delicacies taste. I had no idea what fresh, authentic Turkish Delight tasted like until this young man enticed me to try some. Wow! His Pomegranate Pistachio version could easily become an addiction. (It is not exactly on the healing recipes protocol I typically recommend, but when in Istanbul, you do what you need to do to get by! :)
Who knows, maybe I can create a version with ingredients I approve of once I return home!
The spices and teas here are a culinary dream come true...the aroma and flavor ---ohhhh my... I want to buy them all! And if this (pushy, but in a kinda nice way), salesperson had his way, I would have!
I am returning home with a variety of amazing teas...Jasmine; Saffron; Pomegranate; and a potent anti-oxidant blend. Not to mention a Salad Spice blend I could just eat by the spoonful it's so good.
I am most excited to experiment with blending the antioxidant tea with the Chaga I bought at the Shelter Island's Farmer's market right before my trip. I have a recipe in my head for an anti-cancer brew I can't wait to create. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for updates on that.
You really can't get much more local than this! My table was right next to where this young man was proudly displaying his catches of the day. What you don't see in the picture are the fishing poles hanging over the balcony. I was so worried someone was going to cast over zealously and one of us would end up with a fish hook in our eye!
I like to eat mostly plants when I travel, just like at home, but if I am going to include seafood, eating something fresh and locally caught is a must.
Istanbul at night is a photographer's dream. This is a view of the Grand Bazaar as they were closing up shop for the night. I truly could have spent an entire day here in this market.
I wish I had brought a tripod and some other lenses to give justice to these night time views (there's a good reason to go back!) I only had a day in this amazing city, but easily could have filled a week properly experiencing and photographing it. I will return to explore and highlight those off the beaten track places I can't wait to experience.
The mosques are simply breath taking. Did I mention how much I was missing my tripod for these night shots???
Big sigh.... Moving on...
I hadn't envisioned traveling to Istanbul by myself, but the universe apparently had other plans for me. I left home with trepidation and anxiety, but quickly realized how silly it was to feel that way. If I can be at ease navigating the streets and subways of New York City solo, than I can certainly feel equally at ease navigating my way around Istanbul. People are people ... I make friends everywhere I go and have a blast creating memories with the locals.
Istanbul quite simply is amazing. I will be back for sure.
Next stop, Varna, Bulgaria!