Tag Archives: istanbul

Culinary backstreets: Eating our way around the markets of Istanbul

Midye dolmaThere are many great things about Turkey but one of the biggest highlights is the food. Turkish cuisine is fresh and full of vegetables, spices, perfectly cooked meat and excellent fish. It can be tasty and quite healthy (though people with a sweet tooth and/or an appetite for all things greasy will find many things to their liking).

Every street of Istanbul is lined with dozens of eateries of all kinds,. Knowing this, we worried that we wouldn’t go to the right places during our short time in the city. Not wanting to miss out on any of the good stuff, we decided to book a food tour with Istanbul Eats/ Culinary Backstreets. Best idea ever!

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Turkey 2014: getting lost in the lively Istanbul

The waterfront in Bostanci on the asian side

The waterfront in Bostanci on the asian side

It’s already been 3 weeks since our plane landed at Dorval airport, after a long journey leaving from Istanbul (with a 6h layover in Amsterdam). We spent 3 weeks discovering the beautiful and fascinating country of Turkey.

Our first and last stop in Turkey was Istanbul, a city that I had already fallen in love with nearly 5 years ago and was excited to see again. My brother and mother had never been but it didn’t take long for the beautiful chaos of the city to win them over. Here are a few photos of our favorite places

A church in Beyoglu

A church in Beyoglu

Street sights on Istiklal Caddesi

Street sights on Istiklal Caddesi

Street musicians on Istiklal caddesi

Street musicians on Istiklal caddesi

Galata tower

Galata tower

A view of the Golden horn

A view of the Golden horn

The port in Kadikoy

The port in Kadikoy

Inside the mevlana museum where the whirling dervish ceremony was held.

Inside the mevlana museum where the whirling dervish ceremony was held.

A whirling dervish ceremony

A whirling dervish ceremony

The view from our bedroom.

The view from our bedroom.

Aya Sofya architectural detail

Aya Sofya architectural detail

Architectural detail, Sultanahmet area

Architectural detail, Sultanahmet area

Aya Sofya

Aya Sofya

Inside the Blue mosque

Inside the Blue mosque

Blue mosque

Blue mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Inside the Blue Mosque

Political posters in Moda

Political posters in Moda

Waiting for (and missing) the boat in Karakoy

Waiting for (and missing) the boat in Karakoy

Street art in Moda

Street art in Moda

Dreaming of Istanbul: when a city casts a spell on you

I still see myself at 15, spending hours skimming the pages of Taschen’s gorgeous book, Turkey: from the Seljuks to the Ottomans. I don’t know why but that country’s history and culture compelled me the minute I started to learn more about it.

I developed a fascination for Hagia Sophia, the famous basilica turned mosque that is now a museum. For some mysterious reason, I felt so drawn to it’s majestic architecture which was so incredibly different to anything I’d ever seen.

Hagia Sophia Istanbul A Storytelling Home Lea Plourde-Archer

Seeing the city of Istanbul became a major goal on my bucket list.

I finally got to fulfill that dream in the fall of 2009, as my boyfriend and I spent a semester abroad in France. During our fall break, we traveled from Nice to Milan, Milan to Athens and finally, Athens to Istanbul (our return trip, via Sofia, Bulgaria, was just as complicated).

Blue mosque Istanbul A Storytelling Home Lea Plourde-Archer

There it was. The city I’d been dreaming of for years now. Sure, I’d fallen over heels in love with other places like Barcelona, Paris and Venice, but Istanbul was something else. Something I’d never felt before. Was it the frenzied streets and the sinuous alleys of the bazaars? The sparkling lights of the Bosphorus bridge? The hypnotizing chants of the calls to prayer that rung 5 times a day? I haven’t yet been able to put words on what exactly drew me so much to that particular part of the world.

Lucky eye Istanbul A Storytelling Home Lea Plourde-Archer

What I do know is that I have a general fascination with regions of the world where many cultures have mixed over the course of history. Istanbul’s past is characterized by the numerous populations that came and made their mark here. People have been stopping by for thousands of years and this fact is constantly visible, yet, Istanbul doesn’t feel totally stuck in the past like other places with such a large number of ancient monuments.

Pastry shop, Istanbul, A Storytelling Home, Lea Plourde-Archer

Istanbul is rich in past and fresh and lively in the present.

I miss it, and I will be there again one day.

Fishermen Istanbul A Storytelling Home Lea Plourde-Archer

Cat in the rocks, Istanbul, A Storytelling Home, Lea Plourde-Archer

Has any city or place you’ve visited around the world ever had such a major impact on you?