Europe Nostalgia: Turkey

I decided to wait until I came home to blog about my travels. Alas, better late than never so here is the first post of a few which I’ll be sharing over the next week or so! First stop on the trip was Istanbul, Turkey! My girlfriends and I spent two weeks in Turkey and absolutely loved it! Turkey has a unique culture and atmosphere that I have never experienced before while travelling and so it was one of my favourite places. Over the course of two weeks, we visited Istanbul, Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Bodrum and Fethiye to really get the full Turkish experience. Of course, we delved into the culinary world of Turkish food which I will share with you today as well as a few snaps of the scenery to give you some context. I’m mainly going to share my photos from Istanbul and Cappadocia as they were my two favourite places!

Istanbul 

The place where we spent the most time and my overall favourite place in Turkey. The city is filled with mosques, markets, beautiful gardens and harbour side views. Our visit happened to be timed with Ramadan and so the atmosphere of the city differed to how it normally would be. It was very quiet during the day, however at night, the city became illuminated and families would sit in the gardens and have a picnic after the sun had set. It was a really interesting experience. Here are some scenery photos to get a feel of the place.

Food Finds

So of course being a food blogger, I have a keen interest in trying out the local cuisine. Thankfully for us, the food prices in Turkey are cheap in comparison to our hometown and so our money went a long way as we got to indulge in some amazing food!

Cappadocia

So Turkey as a whole is a unique place, but Cappadocia just heightened those feelings. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Cappadocia, it is a natural land formed city filled with caves. Our hotel was in a cave. We stayed here for two days and got the full experience. We visited the Ihara Valley, Underground City and made the best decision of the trip to go hot air ballooning for the sunrise.

Food Finds

Cappadocia had some foods of their own alongside the traditional Turkish food seen in Istanbul. The locals here are so welcoming and friendly. When we went to sample Turkish delight, we also were welcomed to a smorgasbord of sweets including sesame peanuts, dried berries and an aphrodisiac specific Turkish delight!

Turkey is a country that should be on your travel list. It was definitely an experience that I will never forget.

Next post: Greece


Photos are all my own unless stated otherwise

Economics and Food Unite

As an almost Economist (will be official after this semester), I have a keen interest in seeing what professional economists have to say about things. When I found one who encompasses both my passion for food and economics, I was ecstatic! Introducing Tyler Cowen, an American Economist and author of my most recent read ‘An Economist Gets Lunch’.

Cowen’s book serves as a guide for everyday foodies and emphasises the importance of minimising costs but still maximising utility. In English, how to get good food cheap.

I was completely engaged throughout the entire duration of reading this book. I especially enjoyed the chapter on Cowen’s one month shopping experience at an Asian supermarket (absolute goldmines in my eyes). Cowen also has the travel bug (like me) and so he ventures off to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. One of the main comments made by Cowen which has received a fair bit of criticism from external sources:

Unless you are spending a lot of money, Paris is the worst place to eat in all of France

As someone who has ventured to Paris, I agreed that the food was very expensive. However, I stayed in the Latin quarter of Paris and found unique, almost boutique style restaurants which served up traditional French at a very reasonable price. Cowen emphasises that if you are to find good food in cities overpopulated with tourists, you are best to venture to the outskirts. His economic justification for this is that the rents on the more suburban restaurants are cheaper therefore more money can be spent on investing in quality produce. I am in complete agreement with this.

I also especially enjoyed his discussion about methods of eating to help out the environment. One special mention is that he proposes that individuals give up refined sugar! For obvious reasons including that it isn’t exactly healthy but also due to the extensive costs involved in producing it. Markets shift in order to cater for supply and demand. The changing attitudes of individuals have a huge impact on the market as a whole and also contributing to this is the surge in food promotion via social media (particularly the preaching of natural, wholesome foods).In summary, processed foods = costly so try avoid it as much as possible to reap all the benefits. Yay!

So this was just a snippet from the book as I don’t want to give it all away. Cowen has successfully encompassed my two passions and has inspired me for my future travels later this year to delve into the unknown and discover the hidden gems that Europe has to offer. Even though before I choose a restaurant, I will have to perform a full economic analysis in terms of location, menu selection and the ambience before I make a decision, the long run investment will be worth it as I continue my food mission of finding cheap, good quality food.

Just one more memorable quote from Cowen in relation to restaurant dining:

If it sounds bad, it probably tastes especially good

Let’s be honest, majority of us are turned off by weird and wacky sounding dishes. I am becoming more accustomed to the philosophy of ‘not knowing until I try it’ both in the food world and life in general. If anything, Cowen has now inspired me to further explore the unknown and continue on my inspiring food journey.

Thanks Tyler.


Nostalgia

So it has been almost eight months since I returned home from Europe last year. Thinking about the travel I have done just inspires me to do more so here is a just a reflection of things gone by in the wonderful land of Europe.