I am a bit nervous, as it is my first post in my long over due blog.
I would like to inaugurate it with my favourite city in Europe, Istanbul.
I went there for the first time in 1998, on my first job assignment and I must admit it, I was not very impressed. I found the old town scary, dirty and it was impossible to find anyone that speaks English, they spoke only a few words, that anyway were impossible to understand. I returned there the following year, but I was glad when I changed my job and did not have to return there, even if from day one, I loved the food and the sounds of the city.
Fast forward to 2007, when I reluctantly accepted to travel there for another business trip and OMG, I could not believe it, the whole city was transformed in less than eight years!. I was astonished to see the beautiful new hotels in Sultanahmet area (old town), the area was very clean and I felt safe. Also, everywhere, people were speaking a good level of English. During that third visit I adventured to explore the city, and I totally felt in love with it. Since 2007, I had been going there at least once a year, and I know now plenty of beautiful places and restaurants where I keep going back.
As I cannot write my eight years love affair with this wonderful city in only one post, I will leave you with one tip for now and some pictures. One of my favourite restaurant is located in the Asian part of town. It is called Ciya, in Kadikoy. The good thing is that for only 2 Eur., you can take the frequent ferries connecting the European part with the Asian side, either from Sirkeci (the port in the old town) or Kabatas (the port in the “modern”) part of town to travel to Kadikoy. The ferry ride, last only 15 min, and for 1 Turkish lira (0,50 Eur.), you can buy the delicious Turkish tea (çay tea) while glazing to the magnificent mosques and the Bosphorus, which is the world’s narrowest strait using international navigation. I discovered this restaurants reading one of the best travel articles I have read in my life, the author is Raquel Howard, and she shares the same passion for traveling and discovering cool places to eat!http://www.ciya.com.tr/index_en.php?
Enjoy it, everything is delicious, ask for the Lahmecun (Turkish pizza), you can have it in a big size or mini portions, and please do not forget to end your meal asking for TELEME for dessert, a super delicious cream, that is made by boiled and cooled milk and pasted fig.