Tag Archives: Istanbul

Turkish Food: What a Delight!

One of the things that surprised me most about Turkey was how good the food is. I had expected it to be like Middle Eastern food, with maybe a hint of Greek, but I was blown away by the endless variety that presented itself. Outside of Turkey, Turkish food is represented by the ubiquitous doner kebab. Well, I didn’t have doner kebab once while I was in Turkey – there was simply too much else to try. Due to the widespread reach of the Ottoman Empire, Turkish food combines the best of Balkan, Middle Eastern, and Persian cuisine, and much more. They take great pride in the freshness of their ingredients, and menus are small but robust. As an added bonus – at least for the American or European tourist – Turkish food is cheap. The food costs about half as much as what I would expect to pay in the States.

With that said, here’s a gallery of my gastronomic tour through Turkey (I went to Istanbul and Cappadocia). Bon Appétit!

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Filed under food, Istanbul, travel, Turkey

The Cats of Istanbul: Haikus

In old Istanbul
At every alley and door
A cat lies waiting

From Hagia Sophia
To the ancient Grand Bazaar
Yellow eyes peer out

Cats of Istanbul
I long to carry you home
But customs says no


Filed under cats, humor, Istanbul, photography, travel, Turkey

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

It looks like I’ll be taking an impromptu trip to Istanbul in the near future!  Hopefully I won’t strangle my travel companion for constantly singing the song “Istanbul, not Constantinople,” as he is wont to do.  (I really hate that song.)

Here’s a video of one of the most annoying songs in the world.  Warning: watching this video may cause you to want to shoot yourself.

I threw together a list of all the sites I want to see there, with their visiting hours.  It goes something like this.

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia): Tues.-Sun. 9-5 in winter (or 7 in summer)

Blue Mosque: Daily 9-5 in winter (6:30 summer); closed during prayer times

Basilica Cistern: Daily 9-5:30 in winter (6:30 summer)

Topkapi Palace: Wed.-Mon. 9-7 from April to Oct.

Topkapi Harem: Wed.-Mon. 9:30-5 from April to Oct.

Mosque of Suleyman: Daily sunrise-sunset except during prayer

Kariye Museum/ Church of Holy Savior in Chora: Thurs.-Tues. 9-7

Istanbul Archeological Museum: Tues.-Sun. 9-5 in winter (or 7 in summer)

Grand Bazaar: Mon.-Sat. 8:30-7

Egyptian Bazaar/ Spice Market: Mon.-Sat. 8:30-7, Sun. 9-6:30

Hippodrome: No hours, free

If I have time, I also want to see:

Mosque of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha: Daily sunrise-sunset except during prayer times

Dolmabahce Palace: Tues.-Wed. and Fri-Sun. 8:30-4 in winter (4:30 in summer); daily quota of visitors.

Can anyone recommend how many days I should spend in Istanbul?  I’m thinking three or four days.  I may also throw in a trip to Cappadocia if I have time!

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Filed under humor, travel, Turkey