Category Archives: EUROPE

Basking in Turkey: “Baskin” & a Turkish Meal

Turkey was one of my favourite trips.  Not only was the trip the first one with my boyfriend, but it was filled with such variety: busy cities, historical ruins, relaxing days on the sea, and adventure.  I loved learning about Turkey’s many different cultures and religions, meeting so many nice people and of course, eating Turkish food!  When I look through this gallery, I still cannot get over the variety of food I ate on this trip – I don’t think I had the same meal twice!

We were so inspired by the food we had in Turkey that we made our own Turkish breakfast.

View from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

Breakfast view from Hotel Bella, Selcuk, Turkey

While Turkey is beautiful, the country has a dark side too.  The country’s past is filled with many bloody conquests, wars and sieges as the land was overturned by various cultures and religions.  The powerful Ottoman empire ruled Turkey for the longest period from the 14th right up to (in various forms) the 20th century and it was during World War I that the Ottoman government committed ethnic cleansing against their Greek, Assyrian and Armenian citizens.  It wasn’t until 1922 after the Turkish War of Independence that monarchy was finally abolished, and the modern Republic of Turkey was established in 1923.  Since the formation of the modern State of Turkey, the Kurds have accused the Turkish government of suppressing their identity and mistreatment.  This has resulted in many revolts, uprisings and an ongoing Kurdish-Turkish conflict that is present to this day.  Political protests are common in Taksim Square in Istanbul, and along with Kurdish rights, groups have also protested for women’s rights, LGBT rights, freedom of the press, freedom from torture and other human rights violations.

Police brutality has been the subject of many recent protests, and is explored in the Turkish horror film Baskin, which I reviewed after seeing the movie at the Toronto Film Festival.

"Baskin" Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

“Baskin” Property of Film Colony, Mo Film, XYZ Films

While the state of Turkish politics makes me really sad, I want to remember all the amazing experiences I had while visiting this fascinating country, and keep trying to make more delicious Turkish food at home.  More to come!

How We Toured Turkey in 2 Weeks

How We Toured Turkey in 2 Weeks

How We Toured Turkey in 2 Weeks

Turkey was one of my favourite trips, this country was so amazing to visit.  Considering we planned it last minute, the trip ran very smoothly.  Turkish people are so friendly and helpful and the transportation is very efficient made it easy to get around (though not always the most comfortable!).  I loved the beautiful, busy, chaos of Istanbul, the history of Selcuk, relaxing along the coast in Fathiye, sea kayaking in Kas, mountain biking to the eternal flame in Cirali and hot air ballooning in Goreme…and eating delicious food wherever we went!  This trip had it all and I would love to go back there someday.  To see how we toured Turkey in 2 Weeks, check out the links below.  They link to each day of our trip – what we ate, where we stayed and what we saw.  I highly recommend…everything!  *For more detailed reviews of the hotels we stayed at you can check out my Trip Advisor profile.

HOW WE TOURED TURKEY IN 2 WEEKS

Day 1 – Istanbul

Day 2 – Istanbul

Day 3 – Istanbul

Day 4 – Selcuk

Day 5 – Pamukkale

Day 6 – Fathiye

Day 7 – Oludeniz

Day 8 – Kas

Day 9 – Kas & Kekova

Day 10 – Cirali

Day 11 – Olympos & Antalya

Day 12 – Goreme

Day 13 – Goreme

Day 14 – Istanbul

Day 15 – Karakoy

I’m happy that my boyfriend and I picked this country as our first “big” trip together.  We’re an outdoorsy couple who love to eat and explore so Turkey was a perfect destination for us.  If you’re looking for a little bit of history, a big dose of interesting culture, loads of good food, some relaxation along with an amazing adventure, then I highly recommend you visit this amazing country! 

How We Toured Turkey in 2 Weeks.  Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

How We Toured Turkey in 2 Weeks. Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

If you have any questions about our trip to Turkey, please comment below!

Turkey in 2 Weeks – Day 15: Karakoy

On our last day in Turkey, we met up with my boyfriend’s friend from university who lives in Karakoy, a commercial neighborhood in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

But first we stopped by one of the many fishing boats along the Bosphorus and picked up some fish sandwiches “balik ekmek”, one Istanbul’s favourite fast food.

Balik Ekmek "fish sandwich" along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

Balik Ekmek “fish sandwich” along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

So simple but so delicious: fresh grilled mackerel with onion on a crusty bun.  Loved it!

Balik Ekmek "fish sandwich" along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

Balik Ekmek “fish sandwich” along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

Fishing boat along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

Fishing boat along the Bosphorus. Istanbul, Turkey

Leaving on a ferry to Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Leaving on a ferry to Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

We took the ferry across the Bosphorus to the European side, such a beautiful day for a ride out on the water.  Karakoy was a lovely change of pace from the old city – a bit more relaxed and less chaotic, more of a European feel.  We wandered through downtown Karakoy and then down a pretty pathway by the water, stopping along the way for a beer and some shisha.

Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

We had “kokorec” – a lamb intestine sandwich for lunch – his favourite food and I can see why!  Soft and spicy with a bit of crunch, I enjoyed every bite.

Kokorec (lamb intestine sandwich), Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Kokorec (lamb intestine sandwich), Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Even the ice cream is amazing in Turkey!  Cherry, honey cream (wow, what a delicious flavour) and Italian caramel, shaped into a flower just because.

Cherry, honey cream and Italian caramel ice cream, Karakoy, Turkey

Cherry, honey cream and Italian caramel ice cream, Karakoy, Turkey

Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

We met up with his wife and they took us out for an incredible dinner at their favourite local restaurant.  Up on a rooftop we drank lots of Raki, and ate raw meat sandwiches “cig kofte”, spicy eggplant and tomatoes with pomegranate and walnut – such a feast!

Cig Kofte (raw meatballs), Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Cig Kofte (raw meatballs), Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Eggplant and onions, Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Eggplant and onions, Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

But the highlight of the meal were the lamb ribs.  Tender and spicy with crispy skin, these ribs were one of the tastiest foods we had the whole trip.  We have for sure polished off a whole lamb while traveling in Turkey!  Such a lovely way to end our trip, with good company and good food.

Lamb ribs, Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

Lamb ribs, Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey

We went back on the ferry and walked across the Galata Bridge, admiring Istanbul with all the mosques lit up at night.  Thank you Turkey for such an amazing adventure!  Everyone we met was so nice and helpful, I loved learning about your culture and your history, and of course, I loved eating all your delicious food!  One day I will come back…