City Profile: Istanbul Food Trip

One of the most exciting aspects of traveling is trying out the local cuisine. Istanbul, for foodtrippers, taste-test junkies, and just plain old food lovers, is a 24-hour gastronomic feast. A fusion of Eastern and Western delights, the delicacies of Istanbul will invade the senses. From traditional Turkish and Mediterranean fare to international dishes, there is something to be found for every kind of palate.

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The gala of food can be found anywhere and everywhere in Istanbul, such as the Divan Yolu and Akbiyik Caddesi in the Sultanahmet, but for a true ‘taste’ of variety, head to the Beyoglu. Walking along the Istiklal Cadesi, you’ll find an array of restaurants and eateries. Ranging from doner kebap places to international style taverns, there’s little chance of leaving this area on an empty stomach.


                                                                     Photograph by Damien Roue via Flickr Commons

Another prime area for food aficionados is the Kumkapi fish market. With rows and rows of fish restaurants, you’ll feel as though you’ve entered some strange “fish wonderland.” At nights, the area is ablaze with firelamps, fairylights, and glittery tambourines. It’s also a prime shopping location, with stalls and wandering sales people selling everything from rugs to rag dolls. Here you can get your fill of fillet kebaps, tamarind juice, arabic hummus, fish chowder soup, and ayva dolmasi (stuffed melon).

For those wanting to do a cook’s tour of the city, check out the local markets. If you still havent had enough of fish from the Kumkapi, check out the Eminou waterfront where you can literally, buy the ‘catch of the day’ from the fishermen who’ll even cook their catch for you for the all-inclusive price of 1 Euro. Another great area is the Egyptian market on wednesdays, where you’ll find a diverse selection of spices, dried fruit, sweets, and yes, fish.

Istanbul is a city for the senses and food is its most tangible delight. With specialty restaurants, historic markets, and mouth-watering street food, eating is not only a passion and a pleasure in Istanbul–it’s a way of life.

City Profile: Istanbul, Turkey – Part I

Want a chance to be in Europe AND Asia? Well, Turkey is one country where you’ll be able to explore these two continents. Learn more about this fascinating country by reading the first part of’s City Profile series!


Photograph by Moyan Brenn via Flickr Commons

Turkey is culturally, historically, and geographically the cradle of civilization. It has been the fountainhead for the three most powerful societies in history: the Hitite, the Byzantine, and the Ottoman Empire. Situated between the continents of Europe and Asia, the country is a fusion of the East and West. It is considered as the link between cultures, as eight countries borders this transcontinental land: Greece on the west, Iran to the east, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to the northeast, Bulgaria to the Northwest, and Iraq and Syria to the southeast. It is surrounded by the Black Sea to the north, the Aegean Sea to the West, and the Mediterranean Sea to the South.


The Bosphorus Bridge by night, as seen from the Ortaköy mosque. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto via Wikimedia Commons

Although Ankara is the state’s capital, Istanbul, being the country’s most populous city, has steadily grown to be the financial and cultural center. This developing metropolis, formerly known as Byzantium and Constantinople, is one of Europe’s most exciting and alluring cities. Encompassing 25 districts, this vibrant city stretches towards the European (Thrace) and Asian (Anatolia) side of the Bosphorus Strait. Thus, making it the only city in the world whose home belongs to two continents. The sights, smells, and sounds will intoxicate the senses–with its inspiring architecture, savory selection of street food, and sound of prayer–makes this city a truly physical and spiritual experience.


Photograph by Moyan Brenn via Flickr Commons

Istanbul is not only caught between two continents, but also by two world views–the traditional and the modern. Despite this, most of the population live in harmony with one another. It is one of the few cities in the Muslim World that embraces both the cosmopolitan way of life and religious conservatism.

The city’s biggest draws? Its plethora of cool events!


Photograph of the Istanbul Jazz Festival by GriZine via Flickr Commons

The abundance of events in Istanbul lead to an exotic and exciting trip. The Holy Month of Ramadan would have most of the people fasting from sunrise to sunset (at the exact times), therefore be polite and save your feast for sunset when they break their fast. If you really cant help yourself, there are a few restaurants and cafes open for the rare individuals choosing not to participate and for the non-Muslims.  The end of Ramazan, the festival of  Şeker Bayramı, is the feast of all feast. It turns into a massive party full of food, dancing, and mingling. Its also a massive cavity-fest, wherein the most tempting and delicious sweets are distributed. This three-day national holiday is when the city is truly alive with businesses closing and public transport being heartily championed.

Turkey’s most important religious celebration is the Kurban Bayrami. This four-day event is the commemoration of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The celebration results in the city sky being filled with fireworks and sheep being sacrificed and distributed to the poor. Thus, if you would like to participate in the festivities, early planning is essential, since hotels are often fully booked and public transport tends to be packed like sardines.

Turkey, being predominantly Muslim, follow the lunar year of Hejira which is about 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year. Thus, every year Muslim events occur 11 days earlier.

Another interesting times to visit this thriving city is in April for the Istanbul Film Festival, where the brightest stars of Turkey come to walk the red carpet. Other great events include the Conquest of Constantinople ceremony in May, the International Istanbul Music Festival and International Istanbul Jazz Festival in June and July, the International Istanbul Biennal in September and October.

10 Ways to Stay Fit While Traveling

 How is it did some people come back from a trip slimmer and sleeker, while others did find

they’ve grown at an extra tire around their belly? For the Latter, the stress of the voyage and having less control over Their diet and fitness regimen Often results in Abandoning exercise and mindless eating. HOWEVER, just because you want to maintain a fit figure does not mean you did have to spend countless hours trapped in the hotel gym.

Take advantage of the physical aspects of travel and not only will you end your holiday a few pounds lighter but so having had the time of your life.

Here are ten ways to get fit on the road Whilst satisfying your sense of wanderlust.


Image By Eschubie (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons


1) Forgo the junk and go for quality local delights: such as a cup of Thailand’s Tom yum soup or a small plate of mouthwatering Italian pasta.




Image via Wikimedia Commons by Kcdtsg

Methods You may think you’re cutting calories by choosing did generic crackers or playing it safe by going into yet another fast food franchise, but the only thing you’ll be losing out on is a nutrient-packed cultural tastebud extravaganza. Favor flavor and freshness over packaged and processed meals. Meander through outdoor markets and discover the diverse array of fruits and vegetables Which make delicious on-the-road snacks.

If you’ve ditched the unhealthy fare, you can eat whatever you want … in moderation. Giada de Laurentiis, celebrity chef and host of the Food Network’s Everyday Italian, is not only known for sinful butter-and-oil soaked recipes but so her enviable physique, Which she credits to portion control and eating several times a day.

THEREFORE, you can savor did scoop of creamy gelato or savory Spanish paella, but keep in mind did a little bit can go a long way. Be a mindful eater and put all your senses into it: smell the blend of herbs and spices, look at the colors on your plate, feel how the textures blend and melt together and finally, let the key takeover. Now, that’s true satisfaction.

2) Sit Down and Enjoy Your Meal

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Image by Chris Spielmann (Photographer) via Wikimedia Commons

The philosopher Epicurus Believed that “The road to happiness Means never eating a meal alone.” THEREFORE, sit down with friends, join the city dwellers or the lush scenery make your companion. Taking the time to enjoy your dish will not only let you better appreciate its mix of flavors, but that is the process of your journey.

3) Get involved in the sport of the country.


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Image by NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan from Afghanistan via Wikimedia Commons

It’s a chance to get toned, acquire a new skill and meet new people. You can find opportunities to flex your athletic prowess in one of the community centers or parks, or through the tourist information offices. Wouln’t it be great to go home a lean fighting machine due to karate lessons from a genuine Japanese Sensei or by having battled it out on a rugby field in Sydney?

4) Run or jog!


Image by Jeff Drongowski from Los Angeles, CA, USA via Wikimedia Commons

There is no better way to see the city than by pounding the pavement. For nature lovers, you can ask your hotel reception to recommend a jogging path. If running is too strenous, then walk your way to health. Turn the task into an adventure by plotting out a theme for your route,: such as visiting the locations cited in the Da Vinci Code for Paris or museum-hopping in London.

5) Do a bike tour


Photograph by By Ptakrichard via Wikimedia Commons

Pedal your way to a better body by touring a city on a bike. Like running and walking, this is a fun way to cover some ground Whilst getting a good workout. Get your heart pumping as you weave through alleyways and over bridges and enjoy the true heart of the city.

6) Be a “stair-climber”


Photographer byBernt Rostad (Flickr: Zhujiajiao ancient town) via Wikimedia Commons

As a traveler, one must come to accept ‘that’ in every town or city, there is bound to be a site with a daunting flight of stairs. Do not flee this challenge and make like Rocky Balboa and charge up Those steps.

7) Just say ‘Om’

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Image by Mark Donoher / Daniel Case prior to upload (Flickr) via Wikimedia Commons


Before you leave for your trip, invest in learning a few yoga stances. Yoga is an exercise you can do anywhere. It has Numerous health benefits,: such as Increasing your cardiovascular efficiency and flexibility thereby giving you the energy to explore your destination. From doing the sun salutation on the sand or the warrior stance in your hotel room, it is a relaxing way to start or end your day.

8) Do not let the kids have all the fun! Tap into your younger self and play, jump and laugh.




Image by Karen Laubstein, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve got children, join them in a game of tag on the beach or “Marco Polo” in the pool. Malthus, you will not even notice you’ve did spent the day getting a full body workout. So it is an opportunity to build precious memories with your family.

9) Make your vacation in unforgettable one by pushing yourself to the limits.


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Do not just lie on the beach, jump into the water and spend an hour or two surfing, snorkeling or diving. Hire a certified guide and hike up a mountain trail or go spelunking. Not only will you torch fat, but you’ll be able to experience the beauty of nature and work your way to a more active lifestyle.

10) Complement the physicality of your travels by doing practical musclebuilding exercises: such as crunches, push-ups and squats.


Photograph by Mike “Michael L. Baird, via Wikimedia Commons

Create a three to six day, 30-minute workout routine and devote a session to a specific each set of muscle groups (ex. Day 1: arms and shoulders, Day 2: thighs and glutes). Resistance bands, Which you can find in any sporting goods store, is an effective, portable and affordable way to build strength. You can use synthesis elastics in a variety of ways,: such as bicep curls and tricep and shoulder flys. If you’re pressed for time, squeeze in a few moves by doing lunges as you brush your teeth, calf raises when you’re waiting in line or simply stretch your arms and back on the plane or train.

Finally and most importantly, immerse yourself in the experience of travel by getting out of your comfort zone, exploring a new environment and practicing the value of moderation. Not only will you return trim and healthy, but with a Renewed sense of self and the world.