It has been a few days since my friend Elisa and I returned home and already on the flight home it seemed as it the whole trip had been a dream. I think we might not have minded staying another three days in Turkey, but our trip with our tour group was planned for a week as well as all of the other arrangments, an extension was not an option. We had reserved our trip back in November and for both of us it was our first time in Turkey. We were a bit giddy, as we were leaving our kids and all of our responsibilities as moms behind for a week. It does not happen often. I must introduce Elisa. She is an artist and wonderfully spontaneous and I think we feed off of each other’s energy. I don’t remember when I have last laughed so much, you know the deep belly laughs that almost make your stomach and cheeks hurt. I think it was the therapy we both needed. And so some in our tour group started calling us “the teens”. Little did they know. There were a couple of couples in our group that were clearly younger than us, but they certainly acted more reserved and grown-up. Oh well, we had so much fun.

oulu airport lounge
A lounge at the Oulu airport that we fell in love with

I took close to a thousand photos but I have decided not to bore you with an overload of photography. I am trying my best to select the most interesting shots that perhaps tell something of the surroundings and of our experiences and divide our adventures into two separate posts.

manavgat riverboat
Manavgat river, part freshwater and part seawater


Life in Turkey seemed to be vibrant. The cities were modern and hotels were gorgeous and well-taken care of and customer service was splendid and sometimes even a bit much. But we learned the skill of smiling nicely and saying no thank you and walking away if it became too direct. Sometimes close by to the well cared for areas there might be a shanty-town. It was apparent that there was a large rate of disparity in the level of income. 2015-02-27 13.38.55On our first day we went on a riverboat along the Manavgat river that empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The river is partly freshwater and partly seawater and along one side was a long skinny peninsula of sand. After our lunch of grilled fish or chicken on the boat we had about an hour and a half to enjoy the turquoise water. There was a salesman selling scarves and we took a fancy to their changing colorful shapes in the wind.

merditerranean seaThe tourist season had not officially opened yet and everywhere we could see preparations for the summer season. We were both pleased to be there before the crowds. Sometimes it is easier to see things without the masses even though the trees were just budding and I am sure that even in a months time, everything would be so much greener.

flying scarves and wavesThe Turkish diet is laden with vegetables and their sitrus fruit was like it had actually grasped a few rays of warm sun and packaged it into the pulp. All over there were fruit stands and for a few Turkish Lira or an couple euros you could have a glass of freshly squeezed pomegranate or orange juice. As we started our drive into the mountains on our second day, we passed fields of orange trees all in straight lines and speckled with orange dots.

turkish fruits

Shipyards along the Manavgat river
Shipyards along the Manavgat river

Of course I had to bring home a few treats. We stopped at a spice and treat store in Ürgup, which was an old and small village in the middle of the beautiful rock formations Cappadokya. So this month in kitchen I have treats that have traveled in my suitcase for all of the loved ones back home. Yesterday we cut all of the treats into little bite-size pieces so everyone could sample a little of everything. A prominent ingredient used in many foods both savory and sweet was chickpeas and sesame seeds. I really liked the nutty flavor and texture. In general, sweet desserts were not overly sweet, as often a sauce of thinned down honey was used to give desserts a some moisture and just a touch of sweetness.

Turkish delights collage And so this month in my kitchen I will be exploring and using spices I brought back with me and maybe try my hand with baklava. In my next post I will bring you into the mountains to explore the unique rock formations and maybe some new flavors. I feel like I am reliving my trip again.

This post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen series that she hosts monthly. Check out her blog to links to kitchens all around the world.



  1. Fun to see/hear about the trip a bit…curious about the smells as you traveled around, perhaps near a market or wherever. Seems they would be quite exotic! Hugs…

    1. Cumin and perhaps the spice mix called “Ottoman spice mix” was something that would waft into the walkways of the bazaars. It was very common to use a lemon cologne as they would call it. It was more like a lemon hand sanitizer that left your hands smelling nice and fresh. It was common to have someone standing outside public bathrooms that would squirt some in your hands and give you a paper towel for 50 cents. Hugs to you ❤

  2. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience and adventure in Turkey. I have never been and need to add this to my bucket list. Great thing you went before the big tourist season

    1. Yes definitely, it is a must see place…wait ’til next week when I share the pictures of the mountains and all of the cool places in Capadokya. They just took my breath away and felt like I was in another world.

    1. I could have literally spent an hour or two in the shops asking about all of the different spices and their traditional uses. We tried to take it all in…the sights, the fresh air, the shops and the people and so there was not hours to use, especially since we were part of a group. Perhaps someday a new trip will be made… 🙂

    1. Definitely recommend it. Make sure to make the trip inland to Cappadokya. It takes almost a day to drive through the mountains but it is completely worth it. I would love to go to Morocco someday as well…as well as so many other places 🙂

  3. Laila, your last photo left me captivated… our “lake” often looks the same way (much to my surprise and delight!) Sounds like you had a memorable journey. I have sesame seeds and chick peas… looking forward to your forthcoming recipes! So glad you had a wonderful trip. Ahhhh….

    1. Oh how lovely that you have a similar scene to watch everyday. The water and the rush of the waves is so relaxing and captivating. I’m righting a post on Baklava at the moment…but I will need to delve into some of the savory dishes in the near future.

    1. I guess I did not know what to expect before I went. I had been so busy making all of the arrangements back home that my research fell short. But I was so pleasantly surprised with all of the vegetables and as the week went on the flavors started to grow on me. Delicious indeed.

  4. Those wonderful spices. We have a Middle Eastern spice shop not far from home where I go . There is always incense/frankincense burning on a metal plate by the door. Once inside my nose always starts running with the combined aroma of spices.
    But your authentic market would have been much more exotic AND colourful 🙂
    What a wonderful experience visiting another culture ….love the baklava…love your photo settings .
    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

  5. What a wonderful trip! It’s so good to spend time with a friend with whom you can laugh, just laugh and laugh and laugh!
    Kavey (first time IMKer this month)

  6. Lovely that you had this special time with your friend. I haven’t been to Turkey but my brother and sister-in-law went about 2 years ago and they loved it. Like many New Zealanders and Australians we have very special emotional ties with Gallipoli, Turkey.

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