On a glorious day like today, all I wanted to do was stroll along the Bosphorus with some dondurma, Turkish ice-cream. Besides being absolutely divinely delicious, dondurma has a chewy and tougher texture than ice-cream. It's lower in lactose too, and I find that the fruit flavours really taste like fresh fruit. There's this teeny-tiny dondurma stand in Bebek called "Mini Dondurma" that I used to go to when I was eight. It is actually still there, so I had to get in line.
Çikolata ve böğürtlen, lütfen! That's: "chocolate and blackberry, please!" I'm a sucker for dark berries. Beautiful days like today bring the whole city outdoors, and Istanbul is full of parks and promenades for people to enjoy the weather in.
With a beautiful body of water like the Bosphorus so accessible, fishing is naturally a favourite pastime for many. Keeping everyone's bellies from feeling hunger, vendors of all kinds of tasty treats— salted corn on the cob, simit (a sesame-covered ring of bread), sandwiches, popcorn, cream-filled wafers, stuffed mussels— patrol the walkway.
I ended up walking to Ortaköy, which isn't too far a walk from Bebek— I want to say about 20 minutes walking casually, but I wasn't timing it. Ortaköy was abuzz with people having tea, smoking waterpipes, walking hand in hand with their loved one and browsing the many tables of an outdoor market.
No trip to Istanbul is complete without a trip to the tiny streets of Ortaköy, and no trip to Ortaköy is complete without a kumpir— a stuffed baked potato from one of the many kumpir stands. I couldn't resist, and was also curious to find out what the Amerikan salatası topping was. It turns out that Amerikan salatası, "American salad" is potato salad— you might think potato salad on a baked potato is a bit redundant, but I assure you it is not. The more the merrier. Forgive the blurry photograph below of my feast, I snapped it quickly before diving in. What you are seeing there is some cheese, kısır, potato salad, black olives, hot sauce and slices of hotdogs. I can't get enough of these.