Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pedasa and Iasos

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There is so much to see in Turkey. I feel like we have barely touched the surface in our efforts to expore the rich cultural and historical sites that exist throughout the country. On the highway one brown sign after another invites you to take a detour and explore the ruins of cities and towns left over from previous civillizations that once prospered in this region. It is humbling and exciting to wander through many of these ancient sites with only a handful of other people present. We had the opportunity to experience this when we visited Iassos and Pedasa (near Bodrum). There are so many sites in Turkey many of them remain untouched, while others are still underground. Archeaology teams from Italy, Austria, the United Kingdom, Germany and many other nations have ongoing projects, but many work on-site for only a few months each year. I have included pictures from Pedasa and Iasos, as well a map of Turkey which documents the most significant historical sites throughout the country.

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Sunday Night Dinner

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There is a fish stand at the top of our street, 3 minutes from our apartment. There is a rich culture around fish in Istanbul. It is usually (if done right) served with a table full of salads and appetizers plates, and must be accompanied by Raki, the Turkish alcohol (very similar, but never associated with Ouzo). Apparently, every type of fish is good in this season (we were told). Our favorite is Cipura, which I have found translated as Gilt Head Sea Bream (?!). It is delicious. We decided to seize the opportunity and create a new (albeit temporary) tradition. In our apartment, Sunday night is fish night. Every Sunday, we prepare fish. Last Sunday we prepared fish with lemon rocket and onions (Turkish style). My personal favorite is fish with butter and garlic. We treat ourselves to wine, prepare a salad and indulge in the most flavorful, moist, fresh fish I have ever tasted in my life. Who wants to come to dinner?

CNBC party at Reina

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As many of you may know, I have a very special connection in the Turkish media sector. There is one notable benefit that accompanies membership to this sector: the numerous (and glamorous) promotional events that you are invited to. For members of the media sector this is one of the better parts of the business, but still falling under the category of work. However, for those of us that simply get to be the +1 for the evening, this is an exciting opportunity to mix with a part of society that you rarely encounter, and observe  a lifestyle very different from your own.  The party we attended at Reina exceeded all expectations. First, you must be introduced to Reina: an infamous Istanbul nightclub hanging over the Bosphorus and sitting underneath the Bosphorus bridge. The event we attended was sponsored by CNBC to promote their Fall line-up, specifically the presentation of ‘Game of Thrones’ on Turkish television. We were greeted by knights and warrior princesses. There were open flames leading the way to the outdoor bar. Music filled the air, and the city’s skyline sparkled. Women with 4 inch heels and club attire worked the room, and waiters with white suits awaited your drink order. There was a throne of swords sitting at the edge of the Bosphorus (an exceptional backdrop for any photo), and in the middle of the evening a brass band marched through the crowd for a surprise performance. It was an extraordinary evening.

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What I am listening to at the moment…

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The Frames

Glen Hansard gained international attention through the success of the movie (and music of) Once, but his band The Frames managed to remain unknown to me until recently. Almost everyone in my life seems to be more knowledgeable about music than me. My “newest discoveries” are often well-known bands by the time they are introduced to me. The Frames are no exception to this. The Frames are an Irish band based in Dublin.  They were founded in 1990. They are beloved in Ireland (My Irish friend Robert introduced them to me in August) and they have produced more than 6 albums. They have toured with Bob Dylan and performed at Lollapalooza. “Star star” was the first song I listened to, I have been mesmerized by  The Frames ever since…

The Perfect Besiktas Dinner

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We love kebab. We love really good, cheap food. We also love wonderful Istanbul views. We first started going to this small durum restaurant 3 years ago. We continue to come back because the food is great, the service is exceptional….and they shower you with gifts, covering your table with small appetizer plates to enhance your dining experience. We returned to Durumce and discovered they had expanded and remodelled. There is now rooftop seating and a spectacular view of the Bosphorus, Sultanahmet, and the busy ferry port. We spent 2 hours snacking on appetizers, eating our dinner and chatting over a glass of tea. I would recommend this place to everyone!

Our New Apartment

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We just moved to a fabulous new apartment on the top floor of an old building in the Kurtulus neighborhood of Istanbul. It is one metro stop from Taksim, the modern city center, where Istanbul’s nightlife, shopping and restaurants are located. The apartment is a wonderful open space that has quickly become a refuge from the chaos of the city.

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The Istanbul Bienial

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The Guardian highlights some of the best and most provacative work showcased in the Istanbul Bienial. It also asserts that the Istanbul Bienial has attained the same status of the  Venice and Sao Paolo Bienials. Check it out for yourself:

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/sep/21/istanbul-biennial-2011-modern-art