Turkey – Saturday Farmers’ Market and Wine Tasting

On to the local Saturday Farmers’ Market.

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Lunch at Kantin – an upscale restaurant that could easily be found in Healdsburg, with farm-to-table food and fresh, simple presentations. It was recommended by an American food critic, and although the food was fresh, simple and delicious, I’m wondering why, with so many authentic, elaborate great Turkish restaurants for foreigners to try, Kantin was rated at the top of the list?

Lunch at Kantin

Lunch at Kantin

Police anticipating trouble, as a soccer game is about to begin…

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Gourmet Breakfast at The Backyard… Great concept, fabulous farm fresh food and on-site bakery.

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With Lynsey at The Backyard

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Poached freshly laid egg and bacon

Yachting with Lynsey’s friends and colleagues. The 5 pm call to prayers serenaded us as we toured the grand houses of Istanbul along the Bosphorus.

Our host Arin Cetin

Our host Arin Cetin

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A perfect choice of wine for yachting

A perfect choice of wine for yachting

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I’m ready to move in…

Unfortunately, these homes are passed down through the ages and only under duress do families sell these regal generational homes, which offer a haven of quiet and clean air.

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The Asian side of the Bosphorus

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The night before, Arin was our host in treating us to a terrace table at Poseidon Fish & Wine Center. The moon was almost full — the food was exquisite, and the service incomparable. Thank you again, Arin!

With Chateau Lafite, Chateau Le Pin, Chateau d’Yquem and other wines on the list, and the most sublime fresh fish caught daily, Poseidon is arguably the best fish restaurant in Istanbul.

The last day in Istanbul was spent shopping for antiquities for Lynsey’s new flat. We purchased a beautiful wooden chest that was delivered on a cart through the cobblestoned streets of Istanbul by the shop owner’s friend, who proceeded to hoist it onto his back and carry it up the three flights of stairs to its new home.

My visit in Istanbul ended with Lynsey hosting a Turkish Wine Tasting at her friend Meryem’s, with a view of the Bosphorus.


Turkish Wine Tasting


View over Bosphorus, from Meryem’s apartment

The main wine regions of Turkey are:

  • Marmara
  • Aegean
  • Mediterranean
  • Mid-Southern Anatolia
  • Mid-Northern Anatolia
  • Mid-Eastern Anatolia
  • South East Anatolia

Two popular grape varieties I have never tasted before, that grow abundantly in Turkey are Bogazkere and Kalecik Karasi.


The line-up for our Turkish wine tasting

The wines we tasted that night were:

2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2012 Okuzgozu – Yazgan (a blend of Bogazkere & Okuzgozu)


2010 Selection Kavaklidere (which was the group favorite as the two varieties seemed to meld beautifully together)


2011 Sarafin – Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 Buyulubag – Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (this was my favorite as the flavors seemed well balanced and the wine a great example of what Turkey can do with traditional varieties.

2009 Kayra – Bogazkere Collectible Series #8


2010 Prestige – Bogazkere

2008 Corvus – #5 Blend Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

In closing, a huge hug to Lynsey for her generosity in sharing her life and allowing me a window into her world of Istanbul. Experiencing foreign lands through the eyes of people who live there offer adventures that are rich beyond measure.


A bit of History on Istanbul and the Bosphorus

The 90th anniversary of the new Turkey was just celebrated with the inauguration of the recently opened $4 billion, 8.5 million mile rail tunnel that runs almost 200 feet below the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is the body of water between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and for centuries has been the path of travelers and also invaders. The significance of the tunnel is that because of its geography, Istanbul has long defined this ancient city as the connection between East and West, where Europe meets Asia and cultures intertwine. The tunnel will not only ease commuter congestion for the city of Istanbul, with its 16 million people, but hopes are that in the future it will facilitate trade between Europe and China.

I have so many stories and photos of Mosques, food, shopping at the Spice Market, the Grand Bazaar, more food, a Sunday afternoon yacht adventure, an evening with International Women of Istanbul at the W Hotel, visit to Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi and the Harem, delicious street food adventures as well as dining experiences at top restaurants of the world (honestly the street food is my fav). Then I helped Lynsey to host a Turkish Wine Tasting with Turkish appetizers and cheese at a friend’s home which overlooks the Bosphorus… divine.

My First Turkish Bath 

My first Turkish bath or Hamami was quite an experience. When the woman washed me with her ample breasts flopping over my body, I felt like a child relaxing into sleep as she prepared me for the hot marble slab on which I laid with other women from around the world.

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My First Turkish Bath in…

…The Cihangir Neighborhood Hamami

…The Cihangir Neighborhood Hamami

I was thrilled to be in Istanbul and also sad thinking I will have to leave Lynsey. Let it suffice to say that my journey continued to provide adventures beyond my wildest dreams. Each day I awoke with health, optimism, and absolutely no idea of what the day will bring…. what better way to spend a sabbatical?

Must Read while in Istanbul – My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Set amid the perils of religious repression in 16th century Istanbul, when the Ottoman Sultans were in control, My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk is a fascinating read while visiting this country steeped in history, art, religion and architecture.

Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia

As I walked off the tram headed to these grand and historical places, it was 5 pm and evening prayers were being called. Again, I was in the right place at the right time. It was an experience unlike any other to descend from that tram to see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia for the first time, while hearing calls for evening prayers from many different mosques seconds apart — The sounds of reverence were incredible.

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Blue Mosque

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Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia

When the Mosques closed, I rushed back to Lynsey’s to change for an evening at the W Hotel with the International Women of Istanbul and their significant others. Being with these expats from all over the world who have chosen an international lifestyle, I was reminded of my father and his Pan Am years when we traveled the world, and I was envious of people such as these who had chosen to learn new cultures and languages as a way of life. Being with Lynsey, knowing that she was brave enough to be one of these expats, made for a most enjoyable evening.

Spice Market and Grand Bizarre

Although each day in Istanbul has been filled with adventure, this was my favorite day so far. With Lynsey working, I headed to Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments) to make sure that I fit these in prior to leaving. There are so many rooms that can be visited in the Palace and in the Harem that I felt like I was a guest. I imagined the life so many centuries ago, as I admired the detail and color throughout with mother of pearl inlays and brilliantly colored and meticulously laid tiles. Thank God I am not a woman in 16th century Istanbul! At the very least, I would have had to be the first wife!

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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View from Topkapı Palace

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Mother of pearl inlays at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi

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Magnificent blue tiles at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Inside Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Water fountain at Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

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Topkapı Sarayi Muzesi (Palace) & Harem Dairesi (Apartments)

Later I met Lynsey at Topkapı and we headed to a lunch spot that was near the Spice Market and Grand Bazaar and had the best lamb kabob ever….This was authentic Turkish food at its best.

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Lynsey savoring the moment of her delicious choice for lunch

Lynsey savoring the moment of her delicious choice for lunch

Thinking this lunch couldn’t be topped, Lynsey led us to the Spice Market where I was overwhelmed by the colors, smells and fast pace of the vendors and shoppers.

I will let these photos of the Spice Market speak for themselves. Let it suffice to say that I almost had Lynsey married off to the cashmere scarf salesman, who was relentlessly flirting with her, and that I made great headway with end-of-year Holiday shopping. Thus, too busy haggling to take photos of the Grand Bazaar.

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One of my favorite meals in Istanbul…..fresh spices, fried fish sandwich, eating on a bench overlooking the Bosphorus on a warm fall evening…yummm

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