(Merhaba is Hello in Turkish).
This summer I decided to Study Abroad in Istanbul at Bogazici University (the first American University established outside of the United States). I’ve already been here a week and so far it has been amazing!
I decided to do this for a few reasons in addition to academic requirements.
– Turkey is at the center of East meets West and has been for centuries and is thus very historically significant.
– Turkey is near, and some may consider it to be a part of, The Middle East, and I am taking a class on the History of the Modern Middle East so that I can begin to better understand this often misunderstood and misrepresented region of the world that has such a rich culture and heritage.
– And I have never been to Turkey but have heard so much about its culture, food and scenery (and so far it has lived up to expectations)! Did I also mention the many friendly people I have met despite the limited number of English speakers I’ve encountered on the streets of Istanbul?!
A friend of mine recommended me to get a book called “Istanbul Eats: Exploring the Culinary Backstreets,” and so far this guide to local, less touristy eateries has done wonders. My goal is to check out as many of the listed restaurants as possible, so far I’m making rather slow progress at only 2 out of countless restaurants! But in general the food in Turkey is simply amazing. The food is rich in flavor and texture and is indeed a mix of East and Western cuisine not done in the fusion or molecular styles but in real traditional ways, which is reflective of Turkey’s geographic location and its history. Stay tuned for more detailed posts of some of the best foods I’ve had so far in Istanbul and the very friendly owners of these restaurants who seem to just treat you as their own family.
Turkey is no small country, and I’ve come to realize there is simply too much to see in the 7 weeks I’m here. Some of the top destinations that I hope I will get to see and experience are: Cappadocia, Troy, Ephesus, Pammukale, and Edirne (to see the annual Kirkpinar Olive Oil Wrestling Festival).
This weekend my friends and I are off to explore the ruins of Ephesus and the famed baths of Pamukkale.
Stay tuned for updates on my journey through Turkey!