Istanbul Mini Update

17 Feb 2009
Posted by Jordan
Jordan's picture

Just a mini update to say that Istanbul is indeed a cool city, and we are having a lot of fun here. A few of the highlights so far:

  • Eating $1.30 doner kebap on the street (the best shawarma I have ever had) while sipping fresh-squeezed orange-apple-carrot juice.
  • Sampling a mixed kebap platter at a nearby cafe, with live Turkish zither music playing in the background.
  • Following up the kebap with a game of backgammon, as the locals start singing along to the music.
  • Eating all the Turkish Delight we can stomach while watching late-night (9pm) Star Trek.
  • Walking the streets in the rain (not like there's another option: it's been raining every day).
  • Heading into the grand bazaar with no map and no plan, not caring if we ever make it out or not.
  • Being rinsed and scrubbed and massaged with scalding water in a 500 year old Byzantine bath.
  • Drinking Turkish Apple Tea while discussing travel and teaching with a recent Teach for America volunteer who's traveling around the world before starting grad school in Michigan.
  • Eating our hostel-provided Turkish-style breakfast every day: fresh baguette, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheeses, meats, and olives, with jams and nuttella also available.
  • Trying out a few of the famous Turkish Mezes (appetizers) at a famous restaurant in the new downtown.
  • Talking with our hostel room-mate, a Malaysian doctor, about his multinational Chinese-Malay heritage.
That's not a comprehensive list by any means, but rather a few of the things that come to mind. Our style is to explore and site-see in a laid-back fashion, interspersing tea time as we desire it.

P.S. Our internet connection is not the fastest here, so we've been having some technical difficulties uploading our photos... if they appear lopsided, or incomplete, or ugly, or they're not there, that's why.

eating & drinking &

I'm glad you're having such a great time.

Yes, eating & drinking is the way to see the world. Don't miss the fish sandwiches down by the waterfront. Or (not to eat, but to see) the Turkish museum (one of the 4 best I've seen anywhere) or the underground cistern or the big sultan's palace - Marisa can see where she would have been kept out of site in the harem :-). I'm sure there are things to eat & drink near each of these sites. And it's a real experience to have a smooth talking Turkish man try to sell you a carpet (and serve you tea along the way), especially if he's trying to make you his first sale of the day ("it's not throwing money - it's taking money from your right pocket and putting it in your left; it is an investment for your children" etc.). Not to be missed.

See you soon!

jealous but happy for you.

but happy for you.

So wonderful!

This sounds so wonderful. Now our whole family has been to Istanbul, except me. Need to rectify that fact. And I love your style of site-seeing. Drink some tea for me.