The sights and smells of Istanbul

With the 100th Anniversary of World War 1, Turkey will certainly be a place of pilgrimage for many an Australian in the near future. For those planning on visiting, this week’s trip report gives some clues as to what can be expected when it comes to visiting Turkeys capital city of Istanbul.

As promised many moons ago to those who generously gave advice when I sought it, better late than never eh?

However, as many posts and pics have been on Istanbul/Turkey lately, I will restrict myself to some specific pics. We stayed at Sultanahmet Palace Hotel right at the back of the Blue Mosque and discovered a place nearby called “Istanbul Walks”. We booked 2tours with them; “The Coffee Trail” and “Dining the Turkish way”.

Coffee drinking has been an activity that has taken place since the 1500’s in Turkey. While they may use the same coffee beans used the world over, it’s the way that the coffee is prepared that makes it unique amongst coffee cultures. That preparation is so unique,UNESCO have labelled it an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Turkish people. As part of the trip report, we are treated to some beautiful pictures of the coffee preparation, as well as customers enjoying the end product. We also get to see some of the coffee drinkers taking the opportunity to smoke a Nargile (waterpipe) or two.

Istanbul is a photographer’s dream…great work

Along with preparation and consumption of coffee, the tour also covers the stores selling the base ingredient, coffee beans. This includes the descendants of the two original importers who started so long ago, apparently splitting up on arrival and setting up competing outlets. With the tour soon over, another photo opportunity and sensory experience presented itself.

As we were by The Spice Market after The Coffee Trail (which took about 3 hrs), we went inside to browse around.

The Spice Souks (markets) in many foreign destinations can often offer excellent photo opportunities full of vibrant colours and Istanbul is no exception. Taking the opportunity to walk through such a market will soon have you understanding why spices were the driver of world trade a few hundred years ago. And why explorers set out onto unchartered waters to find new undiscovered sources.

Of course there is much more to do in Istanbul than just soak up the coffee and spice aromas. Whether you take an organised tour to catch all the good stuff or just prefer to explore on your own, head over to the report to enjoy some of the culinary delights on offer in pictorial form, or perhaps add a bit of your own experience for others to benefit from. Follow the discussion HERE.


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