Topkapi Palace

Amazing to see the Topkapi Palace after seeing the alhambra palace in Granada as their influences seem similar. The palace harem had incredible tile detail, which is good considering the 300 women who served the sultan there were not allowed to leave. Some of it reminded me of the King of Siam movie…

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Turkish markets

My tour took quick walks through the grand bazaar and spice markets. The spice market is dizzy with color and treats.

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Mosques, mosques and mosques

Like cathedrals in spain, mosques are plastered across old city istanbul. The tiles are some of their most impressive features. And where i hear church bells throughout the day in Sevilla, i hear muslim calls to prayer amplified in song five times per day in Istanbul.

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Fmiotw: quail eggs

I know quail eggs are sold in the US but i have never seen them in my local grocer. I thought it might be fun to see what these mini-eggs are made of. I fried them and put them over lentils with ground sumak berries over top for a sour seasoning. The eggs tasted rich and eggy in the best possible way. They would be fun for making miniature eggs benedicts.

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Urban adventures – intrepid

1. Home cooked meal
Through intrepid travel, I setup several four hour tours the first of which was a home cooked meal with a local family. We, the tour guide/translator and I, ate with the wife on the floor in her living room while her two toddlers napped in the next room and her husband worked at a restaurant. She grew up in eastern Turkey in a Kurdish farming family. When she was young she moved to the nearby city and by 20 was married by arrangement. Her husband and her moved to Istanbul 5 years ago and she doesn’t like the city much. She misses her extended family. She has never traveled outside of Turkey and is happy with her family.

For dinner we ate lentil soup, stuffed peppers, cucumber/tomato salad, and bread. The meal ended with black tea. Interesting experience.

Afterwards, the tour guide and i went to a local cafe and smoked apple mint hookah, drank apple tea and played backgammon. The view from the cafe was beautiful.

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Merhaba to Istanbul

Oh, I love this city less than 24hrs of being here. The vibrant cultural life can be heard on the streets and tasted in the air. I am living in a 220 yr old building whose original brick walls are oozing with character. I had breakfast on their terrace which overlooks the sea. I will love the next 10 days.

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Farewell to Spain

Drawing on my cavewoman gathering skills, i navigated back to a delicious tapas spot called La Castela, just northeast of Retiro Park in Madrid. I had a tasty garbanzo bean and langoustine dish and a summer wine cooler called tinto de verano.

I took the renfe speed train from sevilla to madrid. From the window, I could see the sunflower fields that spot the countryside. I have many fond memories to return to in Spain.

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FMIOTW: rosada fish

Rosada fish is known as pink bream in english. It is a firm, white fish with a pinkish hue and enough fat to keep it tender while cooking. At the local Triana market, it was only $1.40 for the entire fillet!! After some online research, i decided to steam the fish with garlic, onions, peppers and chorizo in foil in the oven.

I preheated the oven to 200 and then realized it was in Celsius so i turned it down to 100C. After 20minutes, i opened the foil an let it cook for another 10 minutes. The result was flaky, meaty fish with the subtle flavors of chorizo and garlic. Really really tasty!!

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Spanish noodles with chorizo

I waited two hours after checking into my next sevilla house to start using the kitchen. With a quick run to the grocery store, i bought; onion, green pepper, garlic, oranges, almonds, chorizo, white wine and short spaghetti. With inspiration oozing from the tastes, sights and sounds of the city, i made sevilla noodles.

First, i sauteed onions, green pepper, garlic and almonds in a pan with olive oil. I remembered to remove the garlic hearts and the result was no garlic indigestion! I removed these ingredients from the pan.

Then, i sauteed some chorizo slices and added 1tsp of grated orange peel. I added 1/2 cup of noodles to the mix and toasted for a few minutes. I then deglazed with white wine and added water as needed until the pasta cooked through.

I added back the pepper mix and seasoned only with salt! The result was flavorful and filling.

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Sevilla home #2

For $30 per night, i have a private room in a charming sevilla house. I can use the common spaces, especially the kitchen which is fully equipped for food fun. Will savor my remaining two days sevilla!!

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