Mom came to visit me! This is her fourth time to Istanbul (once a long time ago, and twice since I have lived here) and finally she had good weather! It wasn’t too hot, it didn’t rain very much, and it was usually sunny. She stayed with Cengiz and I, and she was a very good house guest and a very independent tourist which made my life easy so I could continue with my lessons. Here are some pictures of some things we did (mostly involving food, which shouldn’t surprise you if you know us!):
There’s a great place in Cihangir that serves great kaymak (clotted cream made from buffalo milk – pictures to come) and menemen, which you see above – onions, peppers, tomatoes cooked for a while, and then eggs added in. Best scooped up with bread.
This is the kaymak I was talking about.
A market in Besiktas on Saturday. You can find everything here – we bought some delicious strawberries and a towel with a sea horse on it.
If you go, buy the strawberries from this guy.
I had a Eurovision party, the contest many countries participate in and viewers can vote on. Some songs are good, some are pretty strange. I set up a betting system which I think making watching it more fun. This year’s winner was Sweden, I recommend you check out the song!
We also did a walking tour with Istanbul Eats, a company I highly recommend which organizes 3 walking and eating tours in Istanbul. This one was the Kebab Krawl, which took place just within one block in a more conservative part of Istanbul, Aksaray. The block is called Little Urfa, named after all of the people from Urfa (a city in the southeast of Turkey, also known as Sanliurfa) who moved to Istanbul in the 1950s and set up restaurants. The picture above is an icli kofte, one of my favorite things. It’s like a meatball with lots of spices and walnuts covered in bulgar and deep fried. DELICIOUS.
Making bread in a beautiful oven.
We also ate kunefe, which will sound gross but is actually pretty good:
It’s the wirey, birdsnest “dough” with cheese in the middle and a syrup on it, and best with some kaymak on top.
We also walked around Arnavutkoy which has some really lovely wooden houses. I wanted to buy a lot of them.
We went to Yakup’s house where his wife made us a delicious dinner. Our favorite was the eggplant salad – she had grilled the eggplants on the stove for a while before taking the skins off and mushing the insides to make the salad. It was soo good.
Mom and I did a “han” tour that we (well, actually Mom did all of the research) created ourselves. Hans were big buildings used as a stop for traders, where they could safely stay and let their animals rest. They could be closed completely off to the outside, even having mosques inside. I was surprised that some of the hans we visited, in the Eminonu area, weren’t as old as I would think, some just from the 17th or 18th centuries. Some were from the 6th century though! If anyone wants to come to Turkey and do a han/caravansaray (not in the urban areas) tour around the country, let me know!
You can sit and drink tea in this one.
A 3 story one
If you look carefully, you can see a guy pulling a tray with tea up to his level! Pretty cool. Thanks to Mom for spotting that and being patient to wait for it again.
I love having visitors because you do things you wouldn’t normally do, and you see the city in a new way. Luckily we had a good balance of doing things/relaxing (Roland Garros!) so neither of us were too tired or full. It was a good trip, and knowing I was going home a week after she left made it easy for her to leave. Next post (hopefully soon), Heath’s wedding pictures!