All posts filed under: Europe

let’s go // ephesus

“So would it make you all uncomfortable if I read Fifty Shades of Grey out loud on this plane? Would you need to talk about your feelings.” This is how Ann and I began our trip from Istanbul to Izmir, with the most hilarious group of male seatmates from CA ever. They would come back again before the day was done. Off the plane we went onto a bus to Selcuk (and our hotel) and then a shuttle with Lily the rug dealer. All to get to the best place ever. Repeated comments of “is this for real?” came from my mouth. Ann managed a quick search to find non-obvious Biblical references to Ephesus and read aloud time began. There was an angry group of silversmiths that felt like their business of making silver idols was being threatened. So they caused a riot. There is something amazing when you’re strolling down a stone street that was built who knows when and you enter the public market space that was constructed in 300BC. I mean, it …

foodie friday: turkey // eats

One of the greatest parts of travel is the food, and I can easily find myself snacking waaay too often while on vacation. I’d say that Turkey was no exception, except that we were almost too busy to indulge in the greatness. I said almost. I personally had plenty of my favorite food groups, cheese and bread. And every now and then, I managed to squeeze in a vegetable, some fruit, baklava and one night, we worked in the greatest Indian food that I have ever had and I forgot to take a picture of said meal. The spices were unreal. All of the elements, the spices and the fruits and veggies, were amazing to see. The prepared meals and meze were just as wonderful. And nothing could top the adorable Turkish man on Heybeliada who pulled us over to the glass counter filled with pyrex dishes as he held his list of the meze options in English. He would point to an item, say the word, and point to the English word on the …

prince islands // heybeliada

Care of a little bit of facebook stalking, I discovered the Prince Islands. Located off the coast of the Asian-side of Istanbul, they are a chain of nine islands that offer a quiet change of pace, made easy by the fact that the main form of transport is horse and buggy. So, with a little bit of research (read: food blogs and the main desk guy at the hotel) Ann and I set off to use public transport, find the ferry and cross the water to Heybeliada. It was amazing. We strolled up and down streets, avoided getting run over by buggies and found the Naval Cadet School and the Halki Theological School. And we stopped to take a few photos.             Back to Istanbul we went in the afternoon and with it came Ann’s favorite ideas of the day, let’s go to the Galata Tower! As we learned care of the internets the tower is “one of the city’s most striking landmarks, it is a high, cone-capped cylinder that dominates the …

istanbul // topkapi palace + a turkish man

Sadly, the Turkish government doesn’t allow you to take pictures of all the fun things in the Topkapi Palace. We lost count of the number of times a guard yelled at a cruise ship tourist, “no photo, no photo.” So pretend like you see photos of glass boxes with emeralds the size of limes and swords that may or may not have been about five feet long. No seriously, it was almost as tall as me. Besides the amazing things insides, the grounds, the intricacy of the tiles/inlay/etc and the views were amazing. Also great were the reminders not to touch the artifacts on the side of the road.    The Patterns. I can’t say enough about the patterns. I couldn’t stop myself from repeatedly saying “oh my gosh how did they do all of this…oh wait, forced labor.” But beautiful nonetheless. The tiles! Everything was tiled. The walls, doorways, ceilings, everything!       And what is a palace without a harem. Because does it really feel like home if you don’t have enough space …

istanbul // a mosque + some tales

Our first glimpse of the Blue Mosque happened the first night we arrived in Istanbul. Ann and I made it to our hotel after overnight flights and a wild, nausea inducting shuttle ride, so the need to stretch our legs was great. It should be noted that we arrived in Istanbul sans a Turkey Guide book and, well, we won’t note that I only had about $75USD due to a bank fiasco…clearly planning wasn’t on my side for night one. Thus, we set out with the decision that we would only walk straight down the road with the tiny postcard sized map from the hotel in hand so not to get lost on our first outing. After about five minutes we emerged onto a square and poof there was the Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque right in front of us. It was an amazing and well-illuminated site.   Fast forward to our first full day and we had lots to see which included a trip to the Blue Mosque and meeting by far one …