“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything.” – Bill Bryson
2015 was a hard year for me. It meant transition – a big change. They say calm before the storm. My calm was my trip to Turkey, my trip across the Indian ocean and the Mediterranean to this amalgamation of Asian and European cultures.
As my plane descended onto Istanbul, I was nervous, excited a mixed bag of emotions.
Just as I had expected from the beautiful images captured by my favourite chef Anthony Bourdain. From the glorious food to the majestic Sophia Hagia, hustle and bustle of Istiklal street.
Each morning, I would wake up with a kingsize appetite with all the walking and playing tourist during the day. Our lovely hosts treated us each morning with the king size kahvaltı ( breakfast) spread, which consists of the luscious Kaymak which is creamy clotted cheese, Sucuk a spicy meaty sausage. Spoilt with an elaborate spread for breakfast each day, there was another assault to the senses this time my eyes were feasted pleasantly with the diverse and rare landscape of the country. From the almost snow like mineral springs of Pamukkale to the 4th century underground caves and the roman ruins of Ephesus.
One for sure you can not compare a kebab from anywhere to the ones you get in Istanbul. Spicy peppery and just succulent melt in your mouth meat. The little inns we stayed in during our visit, were very quaint, homely and the people were friendly. It almost felt like a home away from home. Another favourite of mine whilst on tour was the Turkish meat pizza lahmacun– it’s an equivalent to the dirty hot dogs of New York.. a wood fired dough with a grainy chilli and meat concoction cooked to perfection and eaten with accompaniments of cilantro and lots of lemon juice.
The Galata towers and the precinct that surrounds it is a treat for any architectural lover. The buildings have a distinctly European sense of styling with facades opening up with beautiful balconies and overhanging colonial style windows and architraves. Voted as one of the most beautiful streets in the world, Istanbul is a maze of an intertwined network of lanes that lead you to beautiful shopping districts, Spanish and music quarters.
Whilst walking towards the grand bazaar one cannot miss the leaning towers of Baklava and Turkish delight. Rich syrupy and extremely sweet, these pocket of goodness is a must have in Istanbul.
My time in Turkey was the much-required calm before my storm. It’s my sanctuary of good times and memories that keep my hope burning bright that no matter what the future holds.. you cannot take away the traveller within.
As a famous quotes goes .
“We travel not to escape life..but for life not to escape us.”