Looking for free activities in Istanbul? Here is your guide.

You’re in Istanbul and you’re on budget. Or you just want to hang around without spending so much money. Join the club! You know what they say, best things in life are free!

Treasure hunting in Ferikoy Flea Market

Goodcityguides istanbulGoodcityguides istanbul ferikoyGoodcityguides istanbul ferikoy 2Ferikoy Flea Market is the biggest flea market in the city. Its open to visitors since 2010, every Sunday. I wrote a detailed guide about Ferikoy Flea Market, link in here.

Take a look inside old apartments in Beyoglu

In 19th century, Beyoglu used to be a little Europe; hosting European embassies, palaces and its citizens. Some of the old apartments still keep the same atmosphere, and if you’re lucky – they keep the same design as well. Just look inside if you see an open door!

Goodcityguides istanbul beyoglu

Read a book or study in Salt Galata

Salt Galata is located on the Bankalar Street, Karakoy. It has a research gallery, suitable to host nearly 200 people, where you can spend hours in its quiet environment. I sometimes go there early in the morning to read my mails or simply to work online.Goodcityguides istanbul saltGoodcityguides istanbul salt 2

It used to be Ottoman Bank back in Ottoman times. Apart from using the research gallery, you can wander around its beautiful architecture. White walls, high ceilings, big wooden doors are just divine.

Dive into antiques in Cukurcuma

Goodcityguides istanbul cukurcumaCukurcuma is one my favorite neighborhood in Istanbul. And its famous with its numerous antique shops. Each one has unique items; books, records, lamps, funny items, etc. Find my Cukurcuma guide in here.

Watch Bosphorus in Rumelihisari

Goodcityguides istanbul rumelihisariSomething you can’t find in most of European cities: a coast line. On a sunny day, you can enjoy walking from Ortakoy to Emirgan. Trip will take around 45 minutes, but time flies by while watching ships and boats pass by. Most picturesque stops are in Rumelihisari, its less crowded with people and home to waterside mansions.

Climb to the terrace of Konak Cafe in Galata

Goodcityguides istanbul galataGoodcityguides istanbul galata 290 meters away from Galata Tower, you’ll find Konak Cafe. It has 2 floors; the first floor is full of of grandma style furniture that can be overwhelming. Just keep climbing!  Its terrace in the second floor has arguably one of the best Istanbul views. You can see full Bosphorus, a very close view of the old city Sultanahmet and Beyoğlu Ophthalmic Education & Research Hospital. They don’t complain if you just take a photo and leave; but you can order tea out of courtesy.

Bonus: Entry to Pera Museum is free on Fridays between 18:00-22:00, entry to Sabanci Museum is free on Wednesdays and Istanbul Modern is free on Thursdays!

Istanbul’da Cüzdanınıza Dokunmadan Yapabileceğiniz Aktiviteler

İstanbul’dasın ve kısıtlı bütçen var. Ya da sadece çok fazla para harcamadan takılmak istiyorsun. Kulübe katıl! Hem büyüklerimiz ne demiş, bu hayatta en iyi şeyler bedavaya sahip olduklarımız!

Feriköy Bit Pazarı’nda hazine avı

Feriköy Bit Pazarı, şehirdeki en büyük bit pazarı olarak geçiyor. 2010’dan beri her pazar ziyarete açık; ben çoğu zaman sadece dolaşmak için gidiyorum (aldıklarımın sayısı 5’i geçmez herhalde). Sen de gezmeye, ufkunu açmaya gidebilirsin. Feriköy Bit Pazarı ile ilgili detaylı bir rehber yazmıştım, linki burda.

Beyoglu’ndaki tarihi apartmanları gezin

19. yüzyılda Beyoğlu, Paris ve Londra esintileri taşıyan küçük bir Avrupa gibiydi. Konsolosluklar, Venedik Sarayı, Fransız Sarayı gibi saraylar ve Beyoğlu’na yerleşen Avrupalılar ile.. Hala bu dönemden kalan, orjinal atmosferinde apartmanlar var. Kapılarını açık bulursanız hemen içeri dalın!

Kitap okumaya veya çalışmaya Salt Galata’ya

Karaköy’deki Bankalar Caddesi’nde eski Osmanlı Bankası uzun bir süredir Salt Galata’ya ev sahipliği yapıyor. Sakin bir ortamda saatlerce vakit geçirebileceğin, yaklaşık 200 kişinin sığabileceği kadar büyük bir araştırma galerisi var. Ben bazen sabahları erken saatlerde maillerimi okumak ya da çalışmak için gidiyorum.

Araştırma galerisininin dışındaki diğer alanları da mimari olarak çok güzel. Beyaz duvarlar, yüksek tavanlar, büyük ahşap kapılar… Sadece dolaşmak için bile gidilir.

Çukurcuma’da antikalara dalın

Çukurcuma, İstanbul’daki en sevdiğim semtlerden biri. Bir hikayeye göre, Fatih Sultan Mehmet Istanbul’un fethi sırasında “Bugun Cuma’yı şu çukurda kılalım” demiş ve bölgenin adı Çukurcuma olmuş. Gerçekten de Cihangir ve Karaköy arasındaki çukurda kalıyor.

Ve bu semt sayısız antika dükkanı ile ünlü. Her birinin kendine özgü öğeleri var; kitap, kayıt, lamba, ilginç eşyalar gibi. Çukurcuma ile ilgili bir rehber yazmıştım, detaylar linkte.

Rumelihisarı’ndan boğazı izle

Avrupa şehirlerinin çoğunda ne yok? Uzun bir sahil şeridi. Güneşli bir günde, Ortaköy’den Emirgan’a yürüyerek gidebilirsin. Yolculuk yaklaşık 45 dakika sürecek; ancak gemileri, vapurları izlerken zaman hızla akıp geçiyor. Bana göre en fotoğrafik duraklar Rumelihisarı’nda! Kalabalık azaldıkça güzel yalıların sayısı artıyor.

Galata’daki Konak Cafe’nin terasına tırman

Galata Kulesi’ne 90 metre uzaklıkta Konak Cafe’yi bulacaksın. Birinci katındaki atmosferi biraz basık, büyükanne tarzı mobilyalar var (o sevimli vintage olanlardan değil). Merdivenleri çıkmaya devam edersen Istanbul’un belki de en güzel teraslarından biriyle karşılaşacaksın. Bu terastan boğazı bir uçtan diğerine görebilir, yakından Sultanahmet’i kesebilir ve Beyoğlu Oftalmik Eğitim ve Araştırma Hastanesi’nin bahçesine kuşbakışı bakabilirsin. Ayrıca Galata Kulesi de uzansan tutabileceğin kadar yakın.

Terasa sadece manzarayı izlemek ve fotoğraf çekmek için çıkabilirsin; ama nezaketten bir çay sipariş etsen bence fena olmaz. Böylece daha uzun da oturmuş olursun.

Bonus eklemeler: Pera Müzesi’ni 18:00-22:00 saatleri arasında Cuma günleri, Sabancı Müzesi’ni Çarşamba günleri, İstanbul Modern’i ise Perşembe günleri giriş bedeli ödemeden gezebilirsin!

 

 

Is ramen technically a chicken soup? Searching for answers in Amsterdam.

I am a big fan of Asian Cuisine without even discovering Asia. I once visited Bangkok for work, and stayed for a week; but that doesn’t count. Because I’ve only tried Khao Pad (fried rice) and Pad Thai (fried noodles), which is like 0.035% of whole Asian Cuisine. I was not a big eater back than.

Now, wherever I travel, I seek for it. Sushi, gyoza, dim sum, dumpling… Bring them on! And of course, RAMEN! It seems on all European food magazines people are drown into ramen nowadays, slurping heady broth and savory noodles. 

In Amsterdam, I was with my friend Jasmin, who happens to be a chef (lucky me!). After our second ramen place, I asked her whether ramen is technically a chicken soup; and she said “NO” and looked at me like I was nuts. I guess she re-considered our friendship at that moment. But with my significantly less knowledge about culinary terms, I sincerely believe ramen is kind a chicken soup, just much much better! 

What is ramen? It is a typical & traditional Japanese food; where variety of noodles are bathed and served in variety of soup stocks. Stock recipes differ from chef to chef; therefore there are infinite varieties of Ramen. Its delicious, a taste that is familiar yet exquisite in each slurp depending on how the stock is seasoned or reduced. It’s a new addition to street food trend!

What about our ramen discoveries in Amsterdam?

No1: Vatten Ramen

Owner is Hideto Kawahara, founder of “Hide-Chan Ramen” in Japan. He was born and raised in Kyushu, Japan’s 3rd largest island. When Japan was closed during Edo period, only Kyushu was trading with Netherlands. To honor that relationship, he decided to open Vatten Ramen in Amsterdam. Prices are reasonable and flavorful is incredible! 

Try their special, Vatten Tonkotsu Ramen. Rest of the menu is here.

No2: Fou Fow Ramen 

Fou Fow was not in our list, but seeing people que outside the door; it suddenly become the place we must eat at! We tried Shio Ramen and Tonkotsu Ramen; both were very tasty. The atmosphere is warm and cosy, which is ideal for cold Amsterdam days.

Do you have any favorite Ramen shops around the world? If yes, write to me!

Cheers,

Ozge

Ramen teknik olarak tavuk suyu çorbası mıdır? Amsterdam’da cevap arıyoruz.

Daha Asya’yı keşfetmeden Asya Mutfağı’nın büyük hayranıyım. Bir kez iş için Bangkok’u ziyaret etmiştim ve bir hafta kalmıştım; ama bu ziyaretle keşfetmiş sayılmam. Çünkü sadece Khao Pad (kızarmış pilav) ve Pad Thai (kızarmış noodle) denemiştim, ki bu da tüm Asya Mutfağı’nın %0,035’i kadardır herhalde. O zamanlar yemeye bu kadar düşkün değildim.

Şimdi, nereye gitsem, gözüm Asya restaurantlarında. Suşi, gyoza, dim sum, dumpling… Hepsi benim bebeğim! Ve tabi ki, RAMEN! Şuan Avrupa’da çıkan “Bon Appétit“, “Epicurious” gibi dergilere bakın, herkes ramen hakkında konuşuyor. Kafayı kırsan evde de yapabileceğin reçetelerin dolaştığı bir ortamda ramenin meşhur olması çok mantıklı.

Amsterdam’a Yasemin’le birlikte gittik. Kendisi şef olduğu için sürekli yemekle ilgili sorularıma maruz kalıyor. İkinci Ramen restaurant denememizden sonra ona, “Ramen teknik olarak bir tavuk suyu çorbası mıdır?” diye sordum; bana deliymişim gibi bakıp “hayır” dedi. O an, arkadaşlığımızı yeniden değerlendirmiş olabilir. Aşçılıkla ilgili ondan baya daha az bilgim olduğu kesin, ama yine de ramen bana çok çok iyi yapılmış bir tavuk çorbasını andırıyor.

Ramen nedir? Tipik ve geleneksel bir Japon yemeği; en temel malzemeler erişte ve et / balık suyu. Hem eriştenin hem de suyunun binbir yapılış şekli var; bazıları acı olurken bazıları da zencefil katıldığı için ekşi oluyor. Miso ve soya sosu suyunun içine kullanılıyor. Bazı restaurantlar et sulu isteseniz dahi içine bir miktar balık suyu da ekliyorlar. Üstü de yeşil soğan, “kayısı” kıvamında haşlanmış yumurta, deniz yosunu gibi çeşitli malzemelerle süsleniyor.

Gelelim Amsterdam’daki Ramen Restaurantı keşiflerimize:

No1: Vatten Ramen

Sahibi Japonya’daki “Hide-Chan Ramen” in kurucusu Hideto Kawahara. Japonya’nın 3. büyük adası Kyushu’da doğmuş ve büyümüş. Japonya, Edo döneminde ticarete kapalıyken, Kyushu adası sadece Hollanda’yla ticaret yapıyormuş. Bu ilişkiyi onurlandırmak için bir ramen restaurantı da Amsterdam’a açmaya karar vermiş Kawahara ve Vatten Ramen doğmuş. Fiyatları makul ve inanılmaz bir lezzet patlaması vaadediyor!

Buraya giderseniz Özel Vatten Tonkotsu Ramen’i deneyin. Menünün geri kalan kısmı ise burada.

No2: Fou Fow Ramen


Fou Fow bizim listemizde değildi, ama kapıda sıra bekleyen insanları görünce denemezsek olmaz listemize girdi. Shio Ramen ve Tonkotsu Ramen’i denedik; ikisi de çok lezzetliydi. Soğuk Amsterdam günlerinde içinizi ısıtacak cinsten; samimi ve rahat. 

Sizin favori ramencileriniz var mı? Varsa, bana yazın!

Görüşürüz,

Özge

8 Most Incredible Experiences in Cappadocia, Ranked

No travel has been influential on me to reset everything I have on my mind about projects and chores waiting for me at work & home like Cappadocia. Its such an otherworldly place; there are no buildings, no sign of urbanization, no distractions; just you and the weird nature.

I’ve been to Cappadocia twice, once when I was a kid for a school trip and another time for a business meeting. But when I stumbled upon on internet all the things that I’ve missed in my first two visits, a new phrase surfaced my in my brain: I must go again. And that’s what I did.

Before arriving I did an extensive research. My checklist filters activities like “Is it a tourist trap or not?”, “Will I be sad if I miss that spot?”; and I arrived to a final list. As I checked everything on my list, I am sharing with you – so you’ll have these incredible experiences as well.

no8. Visit Narlikuyu Crater Lake. You can’t see the lake until you drive to the top. But when you do, you are wow-ed!

no7. Take a walk in Ihlara Valley. Don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes, since you have to climb nearly 400 steps! There are hidden churches in the valley, since Christians practiced their religion under pressure. Frescos in the churches were exceptionally beautiful.

no6. Shop for ethnic carpets. There are different carpet ateliers in Cappadocia, most of them work with local producers. My favorite was Bazaar 54; I fell in love with (unfortunately) the most expensive carpet they have. There is also Galeria Ikman which is an Instagram popular spot; and you have to pay 50 TL to get a shot!

no5. Take a break at Ziggy Cafe. You’ll enjoy the terrace big time.

no.4 Photograph fairy chimneys. Must see ones are “3 Beauties”, “Guvercinlik Valley”, “Dervent”, “Pasabag” and “Goreme Open Air Museum”.

no3. Watch Goreme from a Cave House. Arrive at sunset to watch the beauty of old town. We were there in midday, the view was nice but I assume it must be spectacular at sunset. Argos, Museum Hotel, Sultan Cave Suits are within favorites.

no2. Wine & Cheese at Sacred House. Its a concept boutique hotel, and concept is quite unique. Owner of the hotel said it took him 13 years to finish it, since everything was built from scratch; decorations are antique and collected from all over the world.

I felt like I was invited one of Dan Brown’s book setting. Words and photography can’t explain how shocked I was. Let me say, I heard a Chinese couple scream when they check in to their room!

no1. Watch hot air balloons at sunrise. Aaaah, I can’t get over it! I talked about this experience in my previous post, link here.

Bonus: Ride horses while hot air balloons are taking off. Now, that was epic! I was watching hot air balloons as they started to take off, and suddenly I saw people with cowboy hats riding horses between balloons. I tried to capture the moment in below photo; my heart skipped a beat! I guess you should find a tour doing this activity, just ask to your hotel for arrangement.

The Guide You Need Before Planning A Trip to Cappadocia

“My friends told me in a city in Turkey, people are riding camels!” said my Portuguese friend. I am very used to getting odd questions about Turkey like “Do you wear Hijab?”, “Is it always sunny?”, “Can you hold hands in public?” etc. And honestly, these questions frustrate me. Unfortunately, Turkey’s diverse culture is not very well reflected in global media, but that’s the subject of another post. Lets come back to camels!

I was between amused and upset trying to answer my Portuguese friend, but it turns out she was right! People actually ride camels in Turkey, and its in the fairyland of Cappadocia. Of course, its for touristic purposes, but you’ll definitely see camels.

What else to expect and how to plan a visit? I tried to answer frequently asked questions below.

How to arrive to Cappadocia? First alternative is by plane. You can either arrive to Nevsehir or Kayseri airports, then transfer to Cappadocia by airport shuttle or cab. Another alternative is to drive to Cappadocia by car, which I highly recommend; since you can stop by Ihlara Valley and Salt Lake on the way. From Istanbul, it takes around 8 hours by car.

Best time to go: Spring & Autumn. Due to its altitude summers are hot and dry; winters are snowy and cold. Nevertheless, I think snow must be adding more magic to the charm.

How many days to spend? Ideally 3 days, not to rush & to feel serenity of the atmosphere.

Where to stay? Definitely, in a cave hotel! I had a chance to stay in Argos once; no wander why they call that place the most romantic hotel in Europe. Besides Argos, you can find other cave hotels like Sultan Cave Suits or Museum Hotel. There are also more affordable ones like Cappa Villa.

How to get around? Cappadocia is located on a 25.000 km2 land, so its huge. Rent a car or a shuttle with a transfer. I recommend to look for global firms like Avis or Sixt.

How safe is the hot air ballooning? I got on a hot air balloon once, and honestly I can’t say its 100% safe. You’re standing in a wooden basket; there are 2 forces that can move it – the wind and the fire in the balloon. The “balloon riders” are very experienced but the balloon itself is not very technological. Its your choice to take the risk or not. But I must say, its a once in a life time experience! You really feel like you’re flying.

How much is hot air ballooning? $130.

How to arrange hot air ballooning? Reserve your hot air ballooning experience with big firms like DMC, Kapadokya Balloons or Butterfly Balloons.

Don’t leave it to the last day, because balloons don’t get approval to fly everyday. When its windy the tour gets cancelled. Check out this link to see if there is a green flag or a red flag to take off.

Best place to watch balloons: Now this is an otherworldly experience! At 6 a.m. we were at Goreme National Park to watch balloons take off and float in the air. They were so close, I thought I can touch them with my hands!

Goreme National Park is totally free! If you want to shoot balloons from a cave hotel in Goreme, beware that most of them don’t accept guests from outside. Even they do, they ask for fee! Just saying…

If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Ozge

Boulangeries and Pâttiseries of Paris

It’s 7 a.m. in Paris, and we don’t look stressed at all! Why should we, we’re on vacation, right? But no, we think we found the best boulangerie in Paris; and they said we have to arrive early to get warm & fresh goodies.  We take our task very seriously and hit the road (I mean we take the metro).

Du pain et des idees. The reason why we woke up so early. Boulangerie of a passionate baker, Christophe Vasseur. He used to be a white collar, until one day he decided not to. Then, all he did was to work to be the best baker in Paris. What is so special about this place? They opened their doors in 2002, in a real old bakery dating back to 1889. Their methods are 100% traditional, its like time travel. What to eat? Pistachio & chocolate escargots! Luckily, we were there by the fig season, so we had to change to try WARM fig tart.

Second favourite was des Gateaux et du Pain. Genius behind the store is chef Claire Damon. She won Prix d’Excellence Relais Desserts; which is like the Oscars of pastry category – and she is the only woman winning this award. First we bought croissants and french toast. Sat to the café next door, ordered coffee. The first bite from croissant brought tears to my eyes. Got up, walked back to des Gateaux et du Pain and bought some more varieties. Oh my!

Before we move on, I want to give you a little tip: Boulangerie and Pâtisserie is not the same. Boulangerie is the one which bakes bread & varieties (that’s why you should go to a Boulangerie for breakfast), whereas Pâtisserie is the one that makes desserts. For me it was important to know the difference, now you know too!

Next, pâtisseries!

You’ll be mind blown about quantity of really good pâtisseries existing in Paris. I’ll share the ones I tried; all of them were exceptionally delicious, but I am sure rest of them are as good as well.

Paris Brest of Sebastien Gaudard, Mont Blanc of Muscade, Tarte Infiniment Vanille of Pierre Herme, fresh made chocolate at Alain Ducasse, Tarte Framboise at Boulangerie Utopie, Mille-Feuille at Angelina, and many more…

What I admire the most about the chefs of best boulangeries and patisseries in Paris is how passionate and hard working they are. Its almost a craftsmanship! Each bread/ dessert is carefully made by hand, paying immense attention to detail.

I am so thankful that I had the chance to taste them!

Hope you will too!

Ozge

Istanbul’s New Breakfast Scene

Best meal of the day: Breakfast!

Most of the Turkish folks give the same answer when best meal of the day is asked. You get all varieties of cheese, charcuterie, “kaymak & honey”, jams, bread, “simit” and even small meze’s in the breakfast – and the whole is capable of giving you a full stomach for a full day. For me, this version is best prepared at home, sharing with your family / friends without the hassle of outside.

If you’re coming to Istanbul for a visit, you should add having a REALLY traditional breakfast experience to your to-do list; because it’s one of a kind. However in this list, I’ll talk about “the new breakfast scene”; which is popular among youngsters & adventurous taste seekers.

We can even call it a 3rd wave breakfast meal. Here are the places I keep going back when I want a feast in my taste buds.

MSA’s Restaurant

MSA is one of the most credited culinary academy in Turkey. Nearly a year ago, they opened up a restaurant in Sakip Sabanci Museum, where their students and instructors are running both the kitchen & service. The restaurant is like a test academy for students, but certainly, food is not part of the test.

If you’re lucky, you can stumble upon live Jazz sessions for brunch, follow news from here.

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Petra Coffee HQ

The day after Petra Coffee launched Petra Kitchen in its headquarter (in Gayrettepe), they were the talk of the town. Its apparent that the menu is very well designed; all dishes resemble a top-notch quality & taste. It’s nowhere below vs European benchmarks; like Little Collins in Amsterdam, Friends of Ours in London or Hardware Société in Paris.

Needless to say, you should try their coffee as well.  Etiyopya Hunkte is my favorite. Buy it here to brew at home.

Naan Bakeshop

Naan is a small & artisan bakery in Moda; where bread is the king. Its freshly made everyday in the shop; smell of it is not easy to miss. I recommend to visit Naan for breakfast for the perfect combination of eggs & delicious bread. Avocado Bagel, Eggs Benedict, French Toast are my favorites!

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Apartıman

For Apartıman, sourcing good & fresh ingredients are extremely important, and this passion has been reflected to their menu. Dairy products sourced from Kırklareli (a city close to Bulgaria border), and Apartıman makes its own cheese, ice-cream, yogurt using those fresh ingredients. I love their menu as a whole, stop here for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

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Aheste Pera

Charming, cosy restaurant in the historical Pera district. The location & atmosphere of the place makes you feel like you’ve just discovered a hidden corner in Istanbul. Their menu is a mix of Turkish cuisine & Middle Eastern cuisine. Do try their “Breakfast Salad”, “Chard Cilbir” (as in my photo), “Spicy Sujuk Bruschetta”. Reserve online from here.

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Map of all there spots are below.

Enjoy & Bon appétit!

Istanbul’s Botanic Garden: Alfred Heilbronn

good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

My grandfather had a special interest for all different kind of botanics. He had collected species and categorized them in old parchments. As a child, diving deep into his collection was better than the story books. I remember turning each page of flowers delicately, trying to read his handwriting of plant names in Latin.

When I discovered there is a Hortus Botanicus (Botanic Garden) in the middle of Istanbul, I couldn’t help wander why I have never heard of it, or whether he visited before. So I took a ride to Suleymaniye.

Security at the door asked for our ID cards and he let us in. We asked if we have to pay for anything – he said its free and we can enjoy as long as we want! Let the plant hunting begin!

good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

At the time of World War 2, professors and doctors living in Nazi Germany wanted to escape and Ataturk opened the doors for them. That’s how Alfred Heilbronn settled in Turkey. He wanted to build a botanic garden in Istanbul University, researched different plants all over Anatolia and benchmarked himself to European botanic gardens.

In 1935, with the help Leo Brauner and W.Stephan, he brought his dream to life.

Alfred Heilbronn Botanic Garden has more than 5.000 plants, spread onto a land of 15.000km2. There are 6 big different gardens inside, each of them specialized about different species. While each one is more unique than other, my favorite became the one with a small lake inside.good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

Now the bad news… This beautiful botanic garden nested in Istanbul University is on the edge of being closed down!

Since 2013, there has been discussions with Director of Religious Affairs about the ownership of its land. On September 2018, the building of Istanbul University will be wrecked by Director of Religious Affairs to be used for their own issues. What will happen to botanical garden is a question mark!

Although in 1955 the garden has been categorized as “protected area”, the common belief is that garden will be wrecked together with Istanbul University. I can’t be more sad and angry to hear these news!

I urge you to visit as soon as you can, to witness this beauty with your own eyes.

good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical gardengood city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

good city guides alfred heilbronn istanbul botanical garden

Ferikoy Flea Market

Istanbul is my home. I’ve spent my years in its narrow streets, witnessed most of the changes; yet the city always surprises me.

This time, I got carried away in the biggest flea market of the city. Since 2010, Ferikoy Flea Market is open to visitors every Sunday. I had never visited (thought it wouldn’t be authentic, don’t ask why), however my record collector friend convinced me that we might find unique things. So, I decided to give it a try.

First of all, its really big. Even bigger than I imagined. And its true that you can find all sorts of beautiful things suitable for your budget.

The market is a living proof of early cosmopolitan life in Istanbul. Different nationalities, different ages and all left their remarks. We even saw a spyglass with Nazi signature stamp.

Don’t end the tour without eating “gozleme” and drinking “cay”. I heard some people come here for gozleme and as a bonus they visit the market.

Ending the day, hours passed and I was super entertained for discovering such a place. Spirit of Istanbul never ceases to amaze me. And this is Istanbul, unwrapped.

red beach santorini good city guides

Good Santorini Guide

(Türkçesi için yazının en aşağısına inebilirsin)

Pastel colored cliffs, turquoise waters and white roofs. Looks like dusting of a snow when looked from above. The picture perfect Greek Island: Santorini.

We spent almost a week in Santorini, driving from one bay to another, eating Greek food and enjoying sunset. Its not a lay back island, you feel the immense need to see everything and soak it all in.

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How to get there: We flied first to Athens, and then took another plane (Aegean Airlines) to arrive to Santorini. This is the fastest way. Other ways include ferries, which take approximately 5-8 hours from Athens. If you’re a sea traveler, check the ferry schedule from here.

Where to stay: “Fira” is the capital of the island, nested in the middle. From Fira, its easy to access to main attractions; which makes it a good place to stay. “Oia” is located on the north of Santorini, if you’re on the island for a romantic getaway – Oia is the place to stay. Prices are high,  but the view is exquisite.

view from oia santorini good city guides

Breakfast at Passagio! Try their cocktails as well. 

passagio santorini good city guidespassagio santorini good city guides breakfast

Breakfast at Galini Cafe (a must visit!). View from Galini is unbeatable.

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Dine at Metaxi Mas. If they’ll give me one chance to visit only one place in Santorini (amongst all beaches, villages and everything), I would choose Metaxi Mas. First and foremost the atmosphere of the taverna is quite unique; you feel like you’re in an easy going summer movie. Then, you should go for fava bean dip, baked white eggplant, and grilled octopus. I only regret that I didn’t order more. Book in advance.

metaxi mas santorini good city guidesmetaxi mas santorini good city guides

Dine at Aktaion. Local owners and fresh produce. Eating moussaka, grilled calamari and Greek salad is very much recommended.

aktaion santorini good city guidesaktaion santorini good city guides

Go to beach at Theros Wave Beach Bar. Theros is located on the volcanic cliffs of Vlychada. Its calm and quiet.

theros beach bar santorini good city guides

In Santorini, you need to hunt for cliffs to take a dip in the deep blue water. And that is certainly the part of the experience.

The best one was Ammoudi Bay in Oia! Just look at the color! You can also enjoy a cold beer at the bay after jumping into the water.

ammoudi bay santorini good city guidesammoudi bay santorini good city guidesammoudi bay santorini good city guides

Another popular spot for swimming is the world famous Red Beach. You have to walk from a cliffy road to arrive here but its totally worth it. Once you arrive, high & bright volcanic rocks impress you deeply. Arguably, one of the best views I’ve ever seen!

red beach santorini good city guides

red beach santorini good city guides

The beauty of Santorini does not end with dazzling views and food. Because of its unique climate and the rich mineral in soil, the island is one of the best wine regions in Greece. Do tasting at Santo Wines or Boutari Wine watching sunset.

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One last tip: Santorini is a huge island. Rent a car!

Enjoy!

Ozge

İyi Santorini Rehberi

Pastel renkli kayalıklar, turkuaz sular ve beyaz çatılar. Yukarıdan bakıldığında tozlanmış kara benziyor. İşte size mükemmel bir Yunan adası resmi: Santorini.

Santorini’de yaklaşık bir hafta geçirdik, bir koydan diğerine gidip enfes Yunan yemeklerinden yedik ve gün batımının tadını çıkardık. Burası sadece arkaya yatık görünümli volkanik bir ada değil, herşeyi içinde barındıran ve bunu hissettiren bir ada.

Nasıl Ulaşılır? İlk önce Atina’ya uçtuk ve sonra Santorini’ye varmak için başka bir uçağa (Aegean Havayolları ile) gittik. Bu diğerlerine göre en hızlı yol. Diğer alternatif yol ise; Atina’dan yaklaşık 5-8 saat arası süren feribotları kullanmak olabilir. Deniz yolculuğunu sevenlerdenseniz bu linkten feribot tarifesini kontrol edebilirsiniz.

Nerede kalınır: “Fira”; adanın, ortada yuvalanmış başkenti. Fira’dan; tüm cazibesini içinde barındıran ana merkezlere ulaşım oldukça kolay olduğundan, kalmak için en uygun yerleşim yeri diyebiliriz. “Oia” ise Santorini’nin kuzeyinde bulunan daha çok romantik bir kaçamağı tercih edenlerin mekanı. Eğer siz de bunun için geldiyseniz- Oia kalacak en uygun yer. Fiyatlar yüksek ancak manzara enfes.

Passagio’da kahvaltı! Kokteyllerini mutlaka deneyin.

Galini Cafe’de Kahvaltı (Mutlaka ziyaret etmelisiniz!). Galini görünümünden ötürü kesinlikle rakipsiz.

Metaxi Mas’te yemek yemeden dönmeyin. Bana Santorini’de tek bir yeri ziyaret etmeleri için bir şans vereceklerse (tüm plajlar, köyler ve diğer her şey dahil), Metaxi Mas’i tercih ederdim. İlk ve en önemli taverna olması nedeni ile atmosferi oldukça eşsiz. Sanki bir yaz filminde olduğunuzu hissediyorsunuz. Tüm bunların yanı sıra soya fasulyesi, pişmiş beyaz patlıcan ve ızgara ahtapot için bile ayrıca gitmeye değer. Yalnız minik bir hatırlatma; önceden rezervasyon yaptırmak gerekiyor. J Tek pişmanlığım ise daha fazla sipariş vermemek oldu.

Aktaion’da ayrı bir tavsiye.  Lokal işletme ve tümü taze ürünler. Musakka, ızgara kalamar ve Yunan salatası en sevdiğim yemekleri oldu.

Denizin ortasında denizsiz olmaz tabiki; Theros Wave Beach Bar’ın sahil kısmına gidin. Theros, Vlychada’nın volkanik kayalıklarında yer alan sakin ve sessiz bir mekan.

Santorini’de, derin mavi suya dalmak için uçurumlardan atlamanız gerekiyor. Ve bu kesinlikle mükemmel deneyimin bir parçası.

En iyisi Oia’daki Ammoudi Koyu idi! Sadece rengine bakmak yeterli! Suya atladıktan sonra koyda soğuk bir biranın tadını çıkarmak gibisi de yok.

Yüzmek için bir başka bir popüler nokta ise dünyaca ünlü Red Beach. Buraya varmak için uçsuz bucaksız bir yoldan yürümek zorundasınız ama inanın buna değecek. Vardığınızda ise; yüksek ve parlak volkanik kayalar insanı oldukça etkiliyor. Muhtemelen, gördüğüm en iyi manzaralardan biriydi!

Santorini’nin göz kamaştırıcı güzelliği; bu görünüşü ve yemekleri ile bitmiyor. Eşsiz iklimi ve topraktaki zengin minerali nedeniyle ada, Yunanistan’ın en iyi şarap bölgelerinden de biri. Gün batımını izlerken Santo Winesor Boutari Şarap tadımı yapın derim.

Son bir ipucu: Santorini oldukça büyük bir ada bu nedenle araba kiralamanızı tavsiye ederim.

Eğlencenin tadını çıkarmanız dileğiyle!

Simple Living in Cesme

(Türkçesi için yazının en aşağısına inebilirsin)

Sun shining on your skin, wind blowing your hair… You feel lazy, relaxed and blessed. Some days you don’t have any plan; only plan is to get in the car and drive to hidden bays. That’s how I know we are in Cesme, Aegean Coast of Turkey.

There is something for everyone there: for fun lover youngsters to quiet seeking adults. In this guide, I’ll try to share how to treat the town like you’ve been living there. This won’t include sunset parties nor happy hours; but I guarantee it will feel different.

One;

Find backyard gardens behind the streets of Alacati to escape the crowds. If you ever been there, you know that you can’t even walk on the streets due to human traffic. So, look for Misk or Brendi for that quiet space.

Misk AlacatiMisk AlacatiBrendi Alacati

Two;

Eat good food. Most of the restaurants are overpriced in Cesme; but there is a place where no one tells you about. Its also not very possible to get reservation, but please do try. Its called Horasan. The chef is self-taught, he has been to San Sebastian and knows how to work with good ingredients. Horasan CesmeHorasan Cesme

Another spot; simple and good food at Asma Yapragi. Daily made, family recipes. Mediterranean cuisine. Nested in a secret garden. Asma yapragi cesmeAsma yapragi cesmeAsma yapragi cesme

(Edit) New Discovery! Cura Balik in Germiyan. Food is fine, the setting is divine. When we first entered I thought its a wedding reception. But no, this is their usual. Just go there early to watch the sunset. Good coty guides cura balikGood city guides cura balik

Three;

Drive to sea side villages of Izmir. Take off while the sun is setting and enjoy the ride. This time we drove to Balikliova – between Cesme and Urla. The road takes approximately 30 mins.

Our destination was Partal Kardesler. Its a family owned fish restaurant. Actually rather than a restaurant, you feel like you visit their house. Sea food is incredibly fresh and the view is wouw!

Enjoy your vacation!

Ozge

Çeşme’de Sade ve Huzurlu Yaşam!

Güneş cildini parlatıyor, rüzgar saçını dalgalandırıyor. Dinlenmiş, rahat ve harika hissediyorsun. Bazı günler hiç plan yapmaya gerek yok; sadece arabaya binip gizli koylara gitmek yeterli. Böyle olduğunda; Çeşme’de olduğumuzu anlıyorum.

Çeşme’de herkes için yapabilecek bir şey var. Eğlence seven gençler veya sessiz sakin denizin tadını çıkarmak isteyen yetişkinler – farketmez. Bu yazımda tatilinizi sanki orada yaşıyormuşcasına nasıl planlayacağınızı aktarmaya çalışacağım.

Belki bu size gün batımı partileri veya happy hour’lu saatleri anlatmayacak ama farklı hissettireceğine eminim.

Bir; kalabalıklardan kaçmak için Alaçatı sokaklarının arkasında bulunan arka bahçeleri keşfedin.

Özellikle yaz aylarında insan trafiğinden dolayı sokaklarda bile yürüyemeyeceğinizi artık eni konu sizler de biliyorsunuz. İşte size harika bir tavsiye: Misk veya Brendi.

İki; İyi yemek yiyin!

Çeşme’de bulunan restoranların çoğu aşırı pahalı ama kimsenin size söylemediği bir yer var. Çok şanslısınız ki ben size söyleyeceğim.

Adı Horasan. Yoğunluktan dolayı rezervasyon yaptırmak pek mümkün değil ama bence denemelisiniz. Şefi kendi kendini yetiştirmiş. Daha önce San Sebastian’a gidip iyi malzemelerle çalışmasını bilecek kadar kendini geliştirmiş.

Bir diğer gidilmesi gereken nokta ise; Asma Yaprağı. Basit ama iyi yemek için tercih edilesi. Akdeniz mutfağından esinlenen günlük yapılmış aile tarifleri bulunuyor. Gizli bir bahçede herkesle iç içe olmak isterseniz burası ideal.

Son olarak yeni keşif! Germiyan’da Cura Balık. Yemek güzel, ortam harika. Mekana ilk girdiğimizde düğün var sandık fakat sonra anladık ki, her günleri böyle. Sadece gün batımını izlemek için bile gidilir.

Üç; İzmir’in deniz kenarındaki köylerine gidin!

Güneş doğarken yolculuğun tadını çıkarın. Bu sefer Balıklıoğlu’na  doğru Çeşme ve Urla arasında ilerledik. Yolculuk yaklaşık 30 dakika sürüyor.

Hedefimiz Partal Kardeşler‘di. Tatlı bir ailenin sahip olduğu sıcak ve şirin bir balıkçı. Aslında bir lokantadan ziyade evlerini ziyaret ettiğinizi hissediyorsunuz. Deniz ürünleri inanılmaz taze ve manzarası EF-SA-NE! Başka ne diyebilirim ki..

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