Merhaba! Welcome to Turkey!
Ankara is the city with cat eyes!
Ankara is the capital of Turkey. It’s located in the middle of the country. Climate was unusual for me. Mostly, it’s dry and warm. Because of that, the city wasn’t green, however, government tried to change it manually. All around the city I could see planted trees and flowers. I like flowers, so I was happy that they tried to keep the city as green as possible. Also it’s important for environment because trees help reduce the level of harmful pollutions.
I was impressed how big was Ankara! Huge distances which couldn’t be managed without a car.
The driving culture is so weird! Most of the time it’s just chaos! Honking non-stop was the most difficult and at the same time interesting part! It was a language of the roads! :)
I also saw interesting paintings on the roads! Everywhere throughout the city I saw drawings of cat eyes, curious, that one eye is green and another one is blue! I didn’t understand completely, but, I think, it’s kinda symbol of the city! I always say after driving in Turkey I can drive almost everywhere in the world! :)
One historical place which is very important for Turkish people is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It is a truly outstanding place in every way.
I learned a lot about how country went through all the changes, and who Ataturk really was, also about his contribution into the countries history. Turkish people feel a great respect to the founder of Turkish Republic and everywhere I could see Ataturk’s portraits and busts!
I’ve studied English at the university, called ODTU, for a few months. It’s a wonderful place. ODTU was a huge university with a delightful campus.
I liked everything about it: friendly students and thoughtful teachers; an amazing park and a lake on the territory; delicious food at the food court; a nice tennis court; the stadium and etc. I had only one tiny problem though – very difficult to find a parking spot there. Thanks to english school, I not only found new friends, but also better understanding of the Turkish culture and traditions.
Shopping experience was very good in Ankara. There are plenty nice malls! I had 3 favourite: Kentpark, Next Level and Panora.
I could find all kind of European and American brands there. Moreover, I could buy little things from the famous Turkish textile. Quality of that textile is probably one of the best in the world, and the prices were pleasant surprise!:) The malls had a nice design, big parking lots, a lot of good restaurants and sport facilities. For example, I had a membership in the gym located in Kentpark. It was spacious and modern place with a new equipment and a big swimming pool.
One of my favourite places for meeting the friends was Tepe Prime Avenue. It represented office and residence towers with all kind of restaurants and bars between them. It was located on the Eskisehir Road, not far way from the ODTU university.
For the romantic brunch, there are nice restaurants at the Eymir Lake (it’s a beautiful lake in the ODTU campus). I think the best choice was a fish which was always fresh and delicious there. Sunday brunches became a new nice tradition! :)
One more place I liked was Terrace at the top floor of the Next Level shopping mall. It’s a new and beautiful openair area with restaurants. Highly recommended for both nice shopping and delicious food.
Speaking of traditions. One tradition was completely different from my culture – the wedding. I attended one. It was interesting. The celebration started afternoon in a restaurant and finished not very late. Weddings usually are very crowded. There were over 1500 guests. Guests usually bring special gold coins as the presents, which they hang on the bride’s wedding dress. After wedding newly weds can exchange this gold for money. I was amazed that so many people had fun all together. Traditional dances were different from region to region, and everyone showed their own dancing style! It was wonderful!
Istanbul is the city of contrasts!
Every time I think about Istanbul, I remember one image – TRAFFIC!!! Once I had a road trip from Ankara to Istanbul. The road took 5 hours, plus 5 more hours in Istanbul’s city traffic! Unbelievable! It was possible to order food to the car or to buy drinks from people, who sold all kind of things everywhere around the cars! Between the European and Asian sides was an amazing strait Bosphorus! This connection brings something special and magnificent to this city. The view of the city from the bridge was breathtaking!
Istanbul was fascinated because of contrasts! On the one hand it was an ancient city with character, historical architecture and traditions, but on the other hand – fast developing busyness centre, with new residences and high-tech offices! For me, Istanbul was like an energetic volcano – very alive, interesting, surprising, inspiring, but some times scary! :) I should to confess that I didn’t visit a lot of historical places, but I will try to fill this gap in the future!:)
Turkish kitchen is great but not for the body shape!:) There is nothing more delicious for me than tulumba and baklava desserts!
Turkish kitchen had its own character! Obviously, pork meat was not used, but a lot of other types of meat were cooked in different ways. Turkish sausages were popular for breakfast with eggs, cheese, vegetables and special bread – simit.
Turkish breakfast was something special among all other breakfasts in the world. It was cultural shock for me, in a good way! :)
I had brunch with the friends in a nice, cozy restaurant. When I saw the table, I thought that there was no way people can eat that much… I was wrong! :) We had all kind of food on the table from several types of soups and meat to a few types of desserts! It was a feast! After spending couple of hours with a friendly chat, I noticed, that time passed quick and we ate almost everything! :)
There are several traditional ways to cook meat: kofte (Turkish meatballs), doner kebab (meat cooked on a vertical grill) and steak.
On the side to the meat people ate potato, rice and vegetables! Curious, very often they served together rice and potato! Another great dish was pide. It was a flatbread with different fillings such as meat, vegetables or cheese! It was great to eat such a bread with a soup! In Turkey I ate fantastically delicious lentil soups and learned how to cook some of them!
Traditional cuisine also includes manti.
Manti was made of small dumplings usually served with yoghurt and garlic. In general, the natural yoghurt was used in dishes a lot, also just for drinking by mixing it with some water and salt! One exception, turkish people never used yoghurt with a fish! It’s a bad combination for the digesting system!
Some food which I used to I couldn’t find, for example, cottage cheese, sour cream and buckwheat… Nevertheless, I liked Turkish cuisine. Especially desserts!!! That’s my favourite part of any kitchen! From my point of view, desserts could describe the character of the nation! Selection of desserts in Turkey was enormous!
There were endless variations of recipes for Baklava, Tulumba, Kunefe, Lokma, Tavukgogsu, Aşure, Lokum and others delightful sweets! Baking process was very complicated and fascinated at the same time. Each dessert looked like a piece of art and tasted incredible! :)
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