I've had a lifelong craving for Turkey. Not the winged Thanksgiving bird, but the faraway place. I've been to Greece many times and have toyed with a stop in neighboring Turkey, but never could make it happen until now. Paul, the kids, and I found ourselves spending 9 days in Istanbul as an end to our epic eleven-month travel adventure. Despite having always wanted to go to Turkey and having heard so many friends rave about the place, I was nervous about taking our travel-weary selves to a new city (with 17 millions people!) at this twilight moment in our trip.
Istanbul couldn't have been a better place to end to our travels. We stayed in Beyoglu, a charming part of the city, filled with cobblestone streets and old-school fruits cart right outside our apartment door. We would wake in the morning to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of the call to prayer mixed with the shouts of various street vendors enthusiastically hawking their wares. I don't speak Turkish, so imagine these guys were singing something like "Cherries for sale. Sweet ripe cherries for sale...." ( Or maybe peas?)
There is so much I loved about Istanbul: the stunning architecture and breathtaking skyline; the kind, kid-friendly people; and the food. Oh the food! There were so many wonderful places to eat in that city. The kids couldn't get enough Turkish Delight, but I think the most remarkable thing for me about the Istanbul food culture is the fresh abundance and variety of treats we saw for sale on the streets. For someone ingredient obsessed like myself, Istanbul was endlessly inspiring....from pistachios to apricots to fresh fish - all good. Here's a little taste...
One day a man (a total stranger) bought orange juice for me and the kids - the sort of kindness that happens in this town.
Corn on the cob roasted for a snack - brilliantly simple...
And when I saw popcorn popped over an open flame I was giddy.
I have to thank the generosity of Cent from Cafe Fernando, a fantastic blog, for his amazing suggestions of places to eat in Istanbul. His tips were spot on and having his insider perspective on the city was priceless. Thank you Cent!
We made it around the world. We are bleary-eyed, jet lagged, but damned happy to be home. Eleven months is a long time to be on the road. It feels so good to be back in our community with all of the people we love. And the food here at home... ahhh magic! I cannot wait to start cooking up some good California summer recipes to share with you.