You may remember Scott Muehlbauer from "Chat With an Expat" a couple months ago. Well, now he has his own Drifters Blog column called "Shot of Scott" where he shares with us a photo or video clip from his many travels around the world! In the first installment of this series, Scott takes us on a walk across Galata Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey.
The Galata Bridge links the historic old city of Sultanahmet with Galata and Beyoğlu--two districts of Istanbul known for their restaurants and nightlife. I was interested in seeing these areas and sampling some of the fantastic Turkish food.
I crossed the Galata Bridge at sunset, trying to take in everything around me. Large domed mosques with their towering minarets were suddenly illuminated. And the sides of the bridge were lined with people trying to catch fish.
The chilly February air was filled with the smell of bait that dozens of fishermen and women were hoping would be replaced with buckets of fresh fish. I passed two middle-aged women with brightly colored scarves covering their heads. Their rosy cheeks and bright smiles caught my attention as they giggled and chatted away. I saw a proud father helping his son unhook his small catch into a bucket, and another lone fisherman guarding twelve fishing poles staring down at the cold waters of the Golden Horn below. Seagulls hovered and screeched just overhead.
And then I heard behind me, someone calling out:
"Taze Simit! Taze Simit!" It was a street merchant advertising that his 'simit' was fresh.
Simit is a delicious circular bread with sesame seeds that is very common in Turkey and other parts of this region. Here was a vendor who hit my weak spot...FOOD, genuine delicious FOOD!
When it comes to food and me getting some in my belly, there is NO language barrier! (Well, at least not when it's right in front of me.) He didn't even have to ask, I was like a hungry fish at the surface waiting to take the bait:
Even though I'm tall and could have easily grabbed one myself, the man kindly lowered himself and his perfectly stacked tray so that I could choose my own golden brown simit.
Turkey is well-known for it's incredible food--a fusion of Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines; and Turkey has in turn had a strong influence on the cuisines of neighboring countries. It would take years to sample all that this country has to offer in the way of specialty dishes from different regions.
Contributing Blogger: Scott Muehlbauer
I'm JR. I come from a long line of adventurers, some were nomadic explorers of the sea and others wandering cultivators of the earth. Ultimately, this legacy of drifters has deeply affected my view of travel. Read more...