1. Turkish Coffee - Years ago I barely drank the stuff until I discovered my weakness for the smell of freshly roasted and ground beans in a delicate teacup. I like it served best with ground cardamon in a pretty cup.
2. Cafe Culture - Turkish people have made a national sport out of sipping on a hot beverage. Any time is a good time to stop for a tea or a sweet. Streets are packed with people having serious conversations about politics, culture, and current affairs. I could literally spend days hopping from one cafe to another.
3. Fish Sandwich in Eminonu - An absolute must! Its cheap, fresh and very local. Grab a beer with your sandwich and watch the world go by along the Golden Horn.
4. Baklava - Until I tasted baklava at Karakoy Gulluoglu I had no idea what this delicacy was all about. Mouth-watering, buttery, rich goodness from a cafe serving this stuff up since 1820!
5. The Beard is ‘In’ - Anyone who knows me will agree that I am a lover of beards. Contrary to the negative regard facial hair gets in some countries, here it appears to be rather trendy.
6. Muezzin - So long as it isn’t just outside my window, I love the haunting sound of the call to prayer bellowing it’s invitation for a transcendent experience.
7. Nargile - What better way to end your day than to sit on the banks of the Bosphorus smoking a water pipe and playing backgammon?
8. Turkish Hospitality - Not a single day has gone by that I wasn’t invited for tea or a meal simply based on the joy that someone had for being in their restaurant.
9. Hamman - The Turkish bath is a well known, must-have experience. Imagine an hour of being scrubbed, lathered, and washed before stumbling out into historical streets with a feeling of inner peace.
10. Where modernity and history meet - Fashion and pop culture blend effortlessly with ancient architectural wonders. Turn a corner and suddenly you depart from bohemian, design-conscious boutiques into a labyrinth of old-fashioned, religious neighborhoods.