While flying from Heathrow to Istanbul this summer (on June 29) on my way to China, I met a Turkish lady on her way home to Istanbul and we became friends on Facebook. At the time, I told her I would love to visit Istanbul someday. Little did I know that I'd get to fulfill that desire of visiting her in her hometown 6 months and one day later!
Ceyda (pronounced "Jayda") and her husband, Mehmet, picked me up in the morning and we drove around the outskirts of the city and finally to a little restaurant on a hilltop that had been a summer home for the Ottoman rulers during the late Ottoman Empire. There, we enjoyed a fabulous Turkish breakfast. Apparently the key ingredients to a Turkish breakfast are cheese, olives, and tomatoes. In addition to these things, there were various breaks, heluva (a sweet, almost chalky type of square), delicious tomato pastes and lentil pastes, muffins, water pie (a dish of layered noodle-type things with spinach), tea, orange juice, and... lots of other stuff! After breakfast, we drove through town. So far, I'd only taken public transportation, so it was neat to go along some different routes.
We stopped along the Bosphorus river beside the Dolmabachi Palace (the residence of the last few Ottoman Sultans as well as Ataturk's residence whenever he was in Istanbul) and enjoyed Sahlep, a sweet, thick, rich, delicious Turkish drink. This stop also afforded a great view of some places I'd already seen, but from a different angle.
I thouroughly enjoyed my time with actual Turkish friends (I've been hanging out with westerners all week) and getting to better know Turkish culture and seeing more of Istanbul's sites! A delightful morning!
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