Sunday, May 19, 2013

Istanbul - on food

One of the things I most love about Turkey is the food. There are places we go for the culture, the views, the art, the nature, the beaches, etc. The food is almost always a bonus, if it's good then so much the better. In Turkey there's all of that together, but so it happens that I also find their food delicious. On our first time there we had our best meals outside of Istanbul, but we also found some nice places in the city. This time we went by local recommendations and whatever looked good from the street.
I was disappointed when we passed by Hamdi, one of my favorites the last time, and it now looked like a smart version of a fast food restaurant (also not as cheap). But Baran (yummy yummy in the tummy) was still the same great place for a quick meal, and the famous Sultanahmet koftecisi were was great as ever.

:: eating Gozleme - not as nice as the ones I had in Ephesus, but they were not bad
:: dumpling and yoghurt dish - can't really remember the name of this one.
:: humm, their desserts always looked so good ....
:: the famous koftecisi.They were tender and just enough spicy.
:: having tea at Hafiz Mustafa 1864. Delicious looking cakes ...
... really nice decoration (and a very nice view too) ...
... they also had one of the most impressive desset and cake menus I've ever seen ...
... and finally this rice milk dessert which was to die for.
:: the stuffed jacket potatoes and waffles in Ortakoy. Apparently the trick is to order as many fillings as you can
:: traditional turkish breakfast - just my kind of thing
:: having çay on the Asian side
:: all this food just looked so delicious, how could we resist ?
:: saved one of the best for last - freshly squeezed pomegranate juice
:: and yoghurt, just lots of it

Istanbul - a Bosphorus cruise

There were a few things I didn't do when we went to Turkey the first time, so I made sure I could fit them in this time round:
  • Have a nice massage at the hammam. We went to Çemberlitas, one of the most popular ones and when we left I had a new glowing skin.
  • Visit the Asian side
  • Go on a Bosphorus cruise
The day we decided to go on the cruise we visited the Grand Bazaar first. It didn't feel as daunting as the first time I'd been there, and also because it was so early in the morning it was really quiet. Still a nice place to visit, but we didn't actually buy anything - too many choices, I guess.

The longer Bosphorus cruise was not available at this time of the year, so we took the short circuit. We took the official tour, not any of the private ones, because apparently they're all the same and this one is by far the cheapest. We boarded the ferry at Eminonu and the boat went all the way to Fatih Bridge.
On our way back we got off at Ortakoy to have a look around the street markets and enjoy the area specialties - stuffed jacket potatoes and waffles- as recommended by a local friend.
Unfortunately the famous Ortakoy mosque was all covered up and under renovation, so I suppose I'll just have to visit Istanbul a third time in order to finally see it ;-)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Twoot, twoot !

Something I made for a swap a couple of months ago. S. was impressed, but asked hers to be in pink (of course, haven't you heard of pink owls before ?)
Pattern is very easy to follow, and I added the earflaps for extra warmth.

Pattern: Chouette, by Ekaterina Blanchard
Yarn: Ice Yarns Filzy Wool (brought back from Istanbul) - just 1 skein
Needles: 7 mm
Ravelry project page

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Istanbul - 1

Once in a while a good girly adventure is what we all need. Six years ago I went with some friends to Barcelona, then three years later we went to London. This year we decided on Istanbul, something we'd been discussing for a while and finally went ahead with it. I'm so glad we went during winter, it felt like a totally different city this time. Not so crowded, not so many tourists (we only queued for the Galata Tower). The city felt more modern, more organized, it's been six years since I went there with A. so it was wonderful to return to this beautiful city, one of my favorites in the world.

:: drinking çay and reading a book at the nice coffee shop by the Istanbul Archeological Museum
:: street painting exhibition
:: beautiful embroidery on display at one of the souvenir shops
:: the famous chocolate vendor at Istiklal Caddesi. I bought a couple of the dark chocolate bars and now deeply regret not having bought more - they were delicious.
:: taking the Tunel tram
:: breathtaking view from top of the Galata Tower at sunset
:: Galata Tower
:: Istanbul skyline from the ferry pier
:: view of Beyoglu from Eminonu
:: cute hat shop near our apartment in Sultanahmet. I got the green frog hat for S.
:: The Blue Mosque in all its glory
:: Sultanahmet by night

Thursday, May 02, 2013


This was finished last month, so I'm way behind posting about it. This is another design I've had on my queue for a long time, ever since I fell in love with the sleeve detail.
See what I mean ?
Unfortunately I can't say it turned out exactly as I had hoped. The sleeves look great, but they're actually a bit too heavy with this yarn, and don't exactly feel right when you're wearing it (I would probably go down one needle size for the sleeves if I was to knit this again). Maybe I'm just being too picky ...
Pattern: Low Tide Ripples, by suvi sumola
Yarn: Cascade Yarn 220 Heathers (5.5 skeins), shade 7811
Needles: 4.0 and 4.5 mm
Changes: added a couple more decreases and increases, and a couple of inches to the body length.
Ravelry project page