Chora Church – a favourite day out in Istanbul

Thousands of visitors visit Istanbul each year, but it’s only a fraction of these that manage to make it up to the wonderful Chora Church (also known as Kariye Church). Chora Church is my favourite site in Istanbul, and if I were asked to recommend just one place for anyone to visit in Istanbul it would be this! Most of the more busily-visited tourist destinations (Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia etc) are located in the busy Sultanahmet district and can be reached on foot, but Chora Church is a bit further out, and so entails a bit more of a trip. In my opinion, this makes it all the more exciting to visit… (more…)

Turkish Food 1: Istanbul

Wondering what Turkish food is like? My experience of it has on the whole been pretty good. Of course, like any other country there are tourist trap restaurants serving overpriced tasteless food near popular sites. And sometimes, if you’re short of time you have to eat at one of these – our worst experience so far being ordering a “jumbo prawn stew”, expecting a stew made out of jumbo prawns. It turned out to be a little bit more literal than this – it arrived as one rather small single prawn that had been stewed! Hardly the “plenty adequate for one person” the waiter had promised. However, despite a couple of experiences like this, I’ve mostly loved Turkish food, and below are some examples of my favourites. (more…)

Turkey in ten days

Tomorrow morning I’m going to Turkey for ten days with my family. I’m excited because the last time I was in Turkey was only two years ago and I really enjoyed it; that trip had a fairly strong Classical focus as we travelled for a month down the Western Coast from Istanbul visiting many fantastic ancient Greek sites along the way such as Troy, Ephesus and Aphrodisias. This time we’re on a shorter timetable so our trip will have three stops. (more…)