a tale of two cities

As October began Chef and Sue flew to Istanbul to start a Turkish tour that would take in the bracing Bosphorus and Antalya’s sunny harbour town.

Starting in Sultanahmet, the old part of the city, we went to see the Blue Mosque, with its amazing intricate interior and elegant minarets – even more beautiful in the evening from the roof terrace of the Ibrahim Pasha, where we stayed. By day we wandered the shores of the Bosphorus, watching the fishermen and the big boats before winding our way over Galata Bridge to Istanbul Modern, to see its great permanent collection of Turkish contemporary art, and a fascinating Hussain Chalayan exhibition.

For lunch we ate corn on the cob from street stalls, then for dinner we were out – one night for an atmospheric meal in an old cistern at Sarnic – another evening perched on top of an office block at Vogue looking out to the sparkling bridge spanning Europe and Asia, and its hourly light show. And of course what visit would be complete without a go on the hubble bubble?

A short flight and we were in sunny Antalya in the thick of the old harbour looking out to mystical mountains across the sea. When we weren’t by the pool at the Tuvana surrounded by kittens, we were off on a boat to see a magnificent waterfall cascading into the sea, lying on Konyaalti Beach and swimming in the warm water, or relaxing at the Hillside Su with some massage and treatments. At night we explored the old town and came up with a couple of favourites – the simple Mama Rosa where we ate gutsy Mediterranean fare under lemon trees in the back yard – and the upscale Seraser (at the Tuvana) where we had top notch food, and a few Manhattans, in a beautiful outdoor setting.

All in all, a Turkish delight. Chef’s Kiss!

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