A Wander-er’s Kitchen.

Great place for a lunch-break while wandering, sure beats a fast-food parking-lot or truck-stop.

A blog reader recently asked me what sort of “kitchen set-up” I use while traveling in my Tacoma.  Since it’s often difficult to explain something with only words, (anyone who has bought furniture from “Ikea” knows that the assembly diagrams with the text are greatly appreciated by us non-engineer types), I decided to explain what I call the “Wander-er’s Kitchen” with a series of photographs and text!

I wanted my “Wander-er’s Kitchen” to be compact and highly mobile, so I can easily move it between vehicles when necessary.  I appreciate the fancy “chuck wagon style kitchen boxes” many travelers use, but I didn’t want something quite that large, since my space in the truck bed is limited and also serves as my bedroom from time to time!

My kitchen set-up consists of a small aluminum folding table by the “Travel-Chair Company” and a water-resistant “Gander Mountain” Sportsman’s Bag, as you can see in the pictures below.

All my pots, pans, camping stove, fuel canisters, cups, plates, utensils, thermos and coffee-press fit nicely in one bag.    

The Gander Mountain “Sportsman’s Bag” with all kitchen items.

Above, the Gander Mountain Sportsman’s Bag with all necessary kitchen items.

Below, the folding kitchen table in the carrying bag.  The table is the aluminum “Grand Canyon Table” made by the “Travel-Chair Company.”  It’s strong, compact, and the legs are adjustable, making it great for use on uneven ground.

The Grand Canyon Table from the “Travel Chair” Company.

As you can see in the 3 pictures below, the “Grand Canyon Table” comes in two pieces, the folding base and the folding top.  When I cook on my truck’s tailgate, I use the “Grand Canyon Table” top without the base.  This makes a great, flat, heat resistant cooking surface on the tailgate.

The 2 pieces of the Grand Canyon Table, base and top.
The top of the Grand Canyon Table fits nicely on the tailgate making a great cooking surface!
The base of the Grand Canyon Table.
Some of the kitchen items on the tailgate, a great surface for cooking.
The kitchen items on the table with legs in the shortest position.
The kitchen items, close-up.
The table with legs fully extended.

All the kitchen items are pretty much self-explanatory.  Depending on how many friends travel with me, I may take an extra small butane one burner stove in addition to the Optimus stove so I have 2 burners.  I also take a collapsable “kitchen sink” made of PVC type cloth material for washing dishes.  It folds flat and weighs next to nothing.  For drinking water, I like the 3 gallon size water containers, as they are easier to pour than the larger NATO style containers.  The 3 gallon size has a wider base and does not tip-over as easily as the NATO cans.  For washing fruits and veggies, I have 2 small plastic water bottles with small spray tips.  They provide more than enough water pressure for washing away dirt.  I also like stainless steel cups, plates and bowls.  I know they are heaver than plastic but they also last longer and are much more heat resistant than plastic!  Add a small collapsable solar oven to the set-up and you have a kitchen that will do just about everything a designer-home kitchen can do!

Below are a few links for some of the items found in the “Wanderer’s Kitchen.”

Kitchen Table:
http://travelchair.com/products/grand-canyon-table-model-2089cg

Gander Mountain Sportsman’s Bag:
http://www.gandermountain.com/modperl/product/details.cgi?pdesc=Gander-Mountain-Sportsmans-Bag-Large&i=698456

Primus Thermos
http://www.primus.eu/templates/pages/3_cols_white_middle.aspx?SectionId=6392

MSR Quick 2 System Cookware Set
http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/cookware/simple-cooking/quick-2-system/product

MSR Alpine Kitchen Set


Optimus Crux Lite Camp Stove
http://www.optimusstoves.com/seen/optimus-products/products/katadynshopconnect/optimus-outdoor-kocher/optimus-crux/

Hydro-Flask Insulated Bottle
http://www.hydroflask.com/products/hydro-flask-insulated-water-bottle-40oz-large

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No Refrigeration Required!

Think about how dependent we have become on the good old “refrigerator” in our daily lives, or more importantly, how dependent we have become upon “refrigeration” in general.  Most Americans and citizens in other developed nations rely on their “refrigerators” everyday!  We rarely think about it…when we want something to eat… we usually just open the refrigerator door and grab something.
Even off-grid, I have a small refrigerator in my truck camper that runs off of AC power, DC power or propane.  I also have a nice cooler that keeps my perishable foods safe to eat for 3 or 4 days with a good block of ice!  So many of the foods we eat on a daily basis require refrigeration or they quickly spoil.  The more I travel, the more I look for ways to eat healthy foods that don’t require refrigeration and will last for weeks or months if properly stored!  This trip, I am traveling with my Tacoma and did not bring along my DC travel refrigerator.  I did’t want to be “slave” to a power source or “slave” to convenience-store bags of ice every third day, as I venture off the beaten path.  So for this trip, I stocked-up on healthy, tasty foods that would last weeks or even months when stored properly at room temperature.  I know most of us first think of “canned-food” when we think about foods with a long shelf life that don’t require refrigeration.  Go into any American home, look in the panty and I bet 99% of them have canned goods!  I like canned foods as much as anyone, but for this trip I am trying to limit my use of them.  With that in mind, I have assembled a list of what I consider to be pretty health alternatives to canned-foods, foods that will last weeks if not months without refrigeration.

Above, dried nuts, berries, beans and lentils are great foods for the wanderer.  The nuts and berries can be eaten without cooking them and the beans and lentils simply require water, a pot and a small cooking stove.

Above, some of the super-foods I brought along on this trip.  Some, like goji berries can be eaten right out of the bag like any other dried fruit.  The dry powders like maca, cacao and whey protein are great when mixed with water or juice in a small blender-bottle.

Above, a variety of dried fruits.  Dried fruits are great travel foods, they are lightweight, easily packable and provide nutritious, great tasting snacks when hiking or driving!

Above, dehydrated vegetables are great for the wanderer.  They can be used in soups or stir fried dishes, just add water! 
Above, oils and vinegars are great for cooking or eating on raw salads.  
Above, don’t forget honey, peanut butter and hazelnut spread, all great sources of energy-food and delicious too!
Above, coffees and teas are lightweight alternatives to bringing canned or bottled drinks when you travel.  All you need is water and you have a healthy great tasting hot or cold beverage.

Above and below, spices are essential to good tasting food while you wander.  I recently found a small travel sized spice kit with 20 different varieties.  The small containers can be easily refilled and don’t take up a lot of room in your travel kitchen-kit!

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The $5.00 Dollar Solar Oven.

I know it seems like I have solar-cooking on the brain lately, since my last 3 posts have been about solar cooking options.  Don’t worry, I promise you it’s nothing more than a mild case of heat-stroke!
All kidding aside, I have really become a fan of solar cooking, like you haven’t noticed.  This time of year, much of the nation would be hard pressed to cook a meal with solar energy, but since I am in the “sunshine-state,” I might as well try a few solar experiments.  I have 3 store bought solar cooking options I purchased over the last 5 years,

– The “SunOven” solar oven. About $275.00,

– The “SunFlair” portable, folding solar oven.  About $99.00,

– The “SunRocket” portable, solar kettle.  About $60.00,

All three set-ups have their pros and cons, and as you can see above, all 3 cost a fair amount to purchase. On a popular mobile lifestyle website I frequent, “CheapRVLiving,” one fellow reader showed how he built a solar oven out of a cardboard box, aluminum foil and glue… that was really pretty cool, and really inexpensive at a total cost of about $5.00.  That led me to search the internet, looking for other people who have built their own solar ovens on the cheap.  On “You Tube,” I found a video of a woman who built a “Dollar Store” solar oven with the folding windshield reflectors many of us put in our car windows on hot, sunny days and oven bags.  I thought the idea was pretty awesome, so yesterday I purchased the materials necessary to build my own “Dollar Store Solar Oven.”

Materials and Costs of the “Dollar Store Solar Oven.”

– Two folding windshield reflectors, $1.50 each for a total cost of $3.00
– A 2 count box of Oven Bags, cost…………………………….. $1.00
– A 4 count box of medium metal office clips, cost………………$1.00

Total Cost………………………………………………………..$5.00 Dollars.

You will need a pot to cook in and of course the ingredients of your meal.

I reused a few other items that came with previous solar oven purchases, namely a small bakers rack, a small bakers tray, a silicone pot and an oven thermometer.  All four of these items were available at the “Dollar Store” I shopped at, for about an additional $10.00 dollars.  So I guess if you needed to buy all items at once you could probably do it for around $15.00.

The build is quite simple as you will see in the pictures below,
Unfold the 2 windshield reflectors and place one below your cooking pot and one behind your cooking pot.  I used a small folding chair to help the sun reflectors maintain their shape with the support of the chair’s back, seat and arms.  I used the metal office clips, the kind you can use to hold a stack of papers together, to clip the sun reflector to the chair.  This helped the oven maintain its form in the wind.  I then took the black silicone pot, filled it with my meal of sweet peppers and ground turkey, and placed it on the bakers rack and tray.  The rack, tray, thermometer and pot go into the oven bag and I then used one clip to seal the end of the oven bag.  I placed the bag on the reflectors and started cooking.  The bakers rack elevates the food so the heat is evenly distributed 360 degrees around the pot.  The bakers tray helps to maintain heat in the oven as the metal heats up and then gives off that heat slowly.  I was really amazed at how quickly the Bag / Oven heated up, the thermometer went from 60 degrees to over 200 degrees in about 20 minutes.  Pretty amazing, but then again I am easily amazed and amused!  Remember to seal the bag tightly, as that is how the “oven” stays hot in order to cook evenly.  The bags are reusable and if the pot is sealed correctly, there will be no condensation build-up in the bag making reading your thermometer easy!  I read that ground turkey needs to reach a minimum of 165 degrees to properly cook.  After about 30 mins my oven reached 220 degrees!  The oven eventually reached about 260 degrees when I removed the food from the bag!  Not bad for a $5.00 dollar, “Dollar Store” Solar Oven.

Below, you can see the end results…. a tasty lunch of Sweet Peppers and Ground Turkey, courtesy of the mighty Sun.  Since I can’t share a bite with you, trust me when I tell you it was delicious!

The $5.00 Dollar Solar Oven Materials.
Sweet Peppers with Ground Turkey.
The Oven ready to start cooking.
Close-up of the Oven, Pot on Rack and Tray and Thermometer.
Peppers with Ground Turkey done cooking.
Peppers with Ground Turkey, hot sauce and cheese added!

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Solar Options, The “SunFlair” Portable Solar Oven.

Being in Florida this time of year has given me the opportunity to test a few solar cooking options.  Cooking with solar today in Kentucky would be next to impossible, seeing that it’s 9 degrees fahrenheit and partly cloudy.  Here in the “Sunshine State” of Florida, it’s not a perfect day for solar cooking, but good enough.  It’s 54 degrees, breezy with full sun, warm enough for me to test my new “SunFlair.”  The “SunFlair” is a lightweight, portable, folding solar oven.  It weighs in at about 3 pounds and folds up small enough to fit into a bag the size of a reusable shopping bag.  The “SunFlair” seems to be well made and comes out of the box with everything you need to prepare a meal, minus the food.  Included are a thermometer, a small metal cooking rack, a baking tray and 2 collapsible silicon pots and a carrying-bag.  The silicone pots are rated up to 485 degrees.  I paid $99.00 for my “SunFlair” on Amazon.  The “SunFlair” website advertises a price of $119.00 as I type this post.

For more details about the “SunFlair,” checkout their website,

http://sunflair.net

The website has great cooking tips for anyone new to solar cooking!

Setting up the “SunFlair” solar oven takes less than 5 mins.  Simply remove the oven from the carrying-bag and unfold.  Then place the cooking rack in the oven, add the pot with food and thermometer, then zip-up the plastic lid.  It really is that simple!  Of course, food preparation time will depend on what you are making.  Today I made a chorizo and sweet pepper quiche, prep time about 10 mins!

After about 90 mins of “noon-time” slow cooking (160 degrees), the quiche was fully cooked!

Below are a few pictures of the “SunFlair” in action….

The “SunFlair” Solar Oven in the carrying bag.
The cooking rack, thermometer, and 2 silicone cooking pots.  One pot is expanded.
The “SunFlair” solar oven unfolded.
The “SunFlair” solar oven unfolded with cooking rack and pot.
Today’s lunch, chorizo and sweet pepper quiche.
The Quiche ready to go in the solar oven.
The Quiche after 90 mins of cook time.
The Quiche ready to eat!  It was delicious!

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Frugal Eats While Wandering (Traveling).

For me, one of the best things about “wandering” or “traveling,” is the opportunity to eat so many incredibly diverse and delicious foods!  I have found that food brings people together, no matter where you are!  Some of my most memorable meals have been in some completely unexpected hole-in-the-wall eateries!  Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try something new.  A little bit of “culinary-courage” will certainly make for some satisfied tastebuds and some great stories!  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going to a 5-star restaurant and spending a small fortune, if that’s what you enjoy.  But there are always less expensive alternatives to the multi-star, multi-$$$$ bistros found in the travel-guides, no matter where you wander!

All travelers know that food can quickly become a significant portion of your travel budget, unless you are careful.  You can eat very well on a limited budget and have an incredible experience at the same time!

Below are a few of my tips for saving money on food while wandering / traveling!

– Bring your own Water-Bottle.
I don’t like paying for water no matter where I am!  For me, something that is absolutely essential to daily life, like water, should not be expensive or difficult to obtain.  Unfortunately, since only a few mega-companies control the global sale and production of bottled water, they also control the price of it!  If you doubt what I say, take a little test.  Go into a gas station store or mini-mart and check the price of bottled water.  I bet you will find that the price of a gallon of water, is almost as expensive as a gallon of gasoline!  How about a movie theater, the price of bottled-water there is certainly more expensive than a gallon of gasoline!  That just seems so wrong to me!  So what’s the solution?  Simple, carry your own empty water-bottle and fill up from public water sources.  When I travel I carry a variety of water filters / water purifiers.  There are numerous UV water purifiers available that easily fit into your pocket or attach to the water-bottle itself!  SteriPen and Camelbak are just a few of the companies that make small UV water purifiers, great for the world wanderer / traveler.  The UV water purifier will kill enough of the bacteria and viruses to make the water safe to drink.  Often when we think we are hungry, we are really just thirsty.  Keeping yourself well hydrated will probably save you money too by you not spending as much money on food!

– Buy Food Where the Locals Shop.
Think about where you shop for food in your normal, daily life.  When you are at home, you probably shop at the same local markets most of the time.  Why, because eating-out all the time can be expensive!  When you travel do the same thing, try to shop at markets where the locals shop.
Even fast-food can be expensive too!  A meal at most fast-food restaurants in the USA can easily cost 6 to 7 dollars.  For me, what you get in the form of quality and quantity at most fast-food joints for a 6 or 7 dollar meal is way too expensive.  Don’t be afraid to go to local farmers markets or supermarkets, no matter where you are.  You can easily find healthy, fresh foods for just a few dollars per meal!

– Try Street-Eats.   
I love food-trucks and street vendors!  They are very popular in many parts of the world and are usually less expensive than local restaurants.  The best Thai-curry I ever had was from a street vendor in Bangkok and cost just a few dollars.  A good sign is when the street vendor serves lots of locals!  Just like you know the places close to home that offer a great meal for a great price, the locals in the foreign country you are visiting know the same thing!  Even if you don’t speak the local language don’t be afraid, most vendors have pictures of the dishes they offer.

– Bring Small Snacks with you, as you Wander.
When I Wander, whether on foot or in a vehicle, I usually carry small snacks with me.  I find that I don’t need 3 big meals everyday.  Usually a nutrition bar or small bag of almonds is enough to hold me over until my next meal.  Ziploc-type bags are great!  Take them with you and use them to bring a snack with you as you wander!

– Check the Web for Local Food Blogs / Expat Blogs Overseas.
Check the internet for local food blogs, you will be surprised how many you will find!  There is great information about local farmers markets and local restaurants for every city I have visited.  When overseas, it’s easy to find Expat-Blogs written in your native language with information about the local food scene!

– Try Making Lunch Your Main Meal.
Most restaurants offer a less expensive noon-time meal compared to the evening meal.  Check prices at local restaurants as you wander and see if you can save money making lunch your main meal of the day!

– Venture off the Beaten-Path.
Don’t be afraid to venture away from the main tourist districts in search for lower priced restaurants.  Restaurants in the high-traffic tourist areas tend to be more expensive!  Locals tend to avoid the tourist areas when they are in search of good cheap eats, so you will probably find a more authentic food-scene in the areas where locals frequent!

– Try to Find a Hotel / Motel with a kitchenette.
Try to stay somewhere that has a small kitchenette.  This way you can easily shop at the local markets and then prepare meals on the cheap!

– Ask Locals for Advice.
Don’t be afraid to ask a local where to eat.  9 out of 10 times you will get great information!  This tip goes for all sorts of information, not just where to eat!  I have found most people want to be helpful to foreign travelers!  Knowledge is power, seek out local knowledge!

Only a few blocks away from where I am staying in Bradenton, Florida is an awesome little Taco-Truck!  Today for lunch, I’m practicing what I preach, 2 delicious chicken tacos for only $3.50!


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Amsterdam, 2013 Visit.

I’m back in the States now, having just completed a great few weeks in Turkey and a wonderful visit to Amsterdam!  I flew on Air Lingus from Amsterdam to Dublin, then Dublin to Chicago.  I was very impressed with Air Lingus!  The service was great overall, good meals and friendly staff!  The really great thing about flying through Dublin is that it is one of the few places outside of the USA where you can clear customs before arriving in the US.  That means when I arrived in Chicago, it was like a domestic connecting flight, very nice!  No long lines or passport checks!

Amsterdam continues to be one of my favorite cities in the world!  I really never get tired of exploring this city on foot.  It seems like every time I think I have seen all there is to see in Amsterdam,  I take a turn down a new street and see something really interesting!  I love the architecture of the city center.  The building facades along the canals are quite unique compared to other cities.  There are beautiful, majestic 15th, 16th and 17th century homes, alongside 21st century coffee-shops, with old and new cafes and restaurants on every block.  It’s pretty hard to get lost, as long as you can follow one canal to the next you will eventually find your way to your destination!  As I’ve said before, Amsterdam offers something for everyone, so don’t be afraid to visit!  The cliches of pot-smoking and the red-light district are true but there are dozens of awesome museums, great restaurants and picturesque neighborhoods around just about every corner!

Bikes rule on Amsterdam Streets, so be careful and pay attention as you walk the city.
A must-do event during a visit to Amsterdam, A tourist canal boat ride!
The canal boats near the Munt Toren.
Another canal boat navigates the narrow bridges of Amsterdam.
A family feed the ducks and seagulls from their canal houseboat early one morning in Amsterdam, 2013.
Ever wonder how XXX got associated with Adult Movies?  According to a friend of mine, much of the early adult material came from Amsterdam and since the XXX has been on the City Emblem for centuries it got associated with Adult Content.
A variety of building facades in Amsterdam, 2013.
A few more beautiful building facades along Heren Gracht in Amsterdam, 2013.
The Westerkerk Church steeple seen behind a few apartment facades, Amsterdam, 2013.
The Westerkerk Church as seen from the Jordan neighborhood, 2013.

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Haring Met Uitjes, a Dutch tradition!

I’ve said it before, one of the great things about traveling is getting to sample all kinds of different foods. Every country I have visited has had an incredible culinary dish or two that I have really loved! I’m pretty easy to satisfy when it comes to feeding time, but that’s not to say that I don’t have good taste, or at least good taste according to my taste buds. But isn’t that why they say ‘there’s no accounting for taste.’ I mean, everyone has their favorite food, right? What is a delicacy to some, may not be fed to the dogs, by others. It’s really amazing what foods some cultures eat! When I come across, what for me, seems like a bizarre food, I always wonder, ‘who was the first person to try this?’ Like oysters for example! Who was the first human to let a raw oyster slide down their throat? Or who climbed the walls of a cave to rip a bird’s nest off the rock-wall and make soup? Were those foods eaten out of curiosity or necessity? I can assure you, most new, off the wall dishes I try are because I’m curious more than anything. I’ve eaten guinea pig in Peru, menudo in Mexico, all sorts of weird raw fish and other creatures in Japan, dishes in Africa that to this day, I’m not sure what I ate? Most of the time things turnout fine, but there have been a few occasions where I consumed something that made me sick for days. Like the time I ate a ‘Chinese beef and noodle’ dish in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and was sick for a few days, I mean bad-sick. Or the time I ate ‘rare grilled chicken’ in Thailand and it soon exited me simultaneous from both ends. And how could I forget the time I drank some ‘counterfeit Gatorade’ on the Inca Trail and was sick all night long! Great travel memories…..lol. Not! Even with a few bad experiences, I continue to try just about any food other humans eat!
It’s funny but my 2 brothers are kind-of the exact opposite when it comes to food. They think I am crazy to eat some of the things I eat! So where do I get it? From my Dad! My father had pretty much the same attitude when it came to eating! He loved weird stuff like I do! When I lived in the Netherlands in the early 1990s, my parents visited and of course we had to try some of the local dishes. My father and I ate ‘raw herring and onion sandwiches.’ They were, and still are, very delicious! My father passed away in the late 90s but I know if he was alive today, he would have joined me in eating a few ‘raw herring and onion sandwiches’ or as the Dutch call them, ‘haring met uitjes.’
In memory of my father, today I ate one raw herring sandwich for myself and one for Dad!

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Turkey, 2013, a Really Great Adventure!

As I bring my Turkey adventure to a close, I depart with nothing but good things to say about this country. I saw just enough to know that I will certainly visit Turkey again! It's a country rich in history and culture! If you can't find something interesting to do or see in Turkey, you probably should not be traveling, because you probably don't have a heartbeat! I don't pretend to be an expert on Turkey after a 2 week + visit, but I am certainly better informed today, than I was last month. My experience was extremely positive. I found the people to be very friendly and helpful. They really understand the importance of tourism to their economy and go out of their way to welcome you. Even in Istanbul, where there seems to be a degree of 'organized madness' 24 hours a day, people were happy to point you in the right direction and answer questions. My last few days were spent in the seaside town of Kusadasi, a very popular European travel destination on Aegean coast.

A few pictures of the seaside town of Kusadasi, Turkey, 2013.

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Amazing Istanbul, 2013

There really isn’t anything new that I can say about the amazing city of Istanbul that has not already been said for probably the last 100 years or more.  It’s such a wonderful city with a rich history, spanning literally thousands of years, that I could never do it justice in a 2 paragraph blog post.  What I can say is if you have never been to Istanbul, I highly recommend you visit this incredible city!  There really is something for everyone to enjoy in Istanbul, hundreds of historic sites, mosques and churches, shopping and great restaurants seem to be on just about every block! You can probably see most of the major attractions in 4 or 5 days, but you will need to plan carefully.  Istanbul is the largest city in Europe, with over 20 million people.  It’s busy day and night and traffic can be challenging, even for an experienced taxis driver!  I recommend you take a tour, perhaps on a sightseeing bus, the first day in Istanbul in order to get your bearings and then after that, get your map, tour book and just wing it.  The city really is quite safe and the locals are more than happy to help even if they don’t speak your language.  Most of the major attractions are located between the Old City and Taksim Square.  You can easily walk between the two areas in about 30 mins.  You will want to use the Galata bridge to get between the two areas.  The bridge is very foot traffic friendly and a great way to see the dozens of mosques that dot the hillsides in all directions.  The best thing about crossing the Galata Bridge on foot is that you can take a break and sample a grilled fish sandwich on either the west or east sides of the bridge.  They are only 6 Turkish Lira, about 3 USD, and really delicious!  As you cross the bridge you will rub elbows with hundreds of fishermen casting their lines off the bridge, quite a site to see indeed.  As I have mentioned before, I love to wander.  That’s not to say I don’t have a general objective in mind when sightseeing, just that I often wonder off track to see something interesting along the way.  There are hundreds of shops selling everything under the sun from spices, fresh fruit, gold jewelry, silk scarves to leather goods and ceramics…just about anywhere in the city!  You will want to have small bills of Turkish Lira in hand when you go shopping and don’t be affraid to bargin!  I have read where some really seasoned Istanbul shoppers say start your bargaining at about 25% of what you are willing to pay for anything and go from there!  I have found that many shop keepers will ask you repeatedly to visit their shop, but if you are not interested, remain firm and just say ‘no thanks!’  You are not the first person to politely decline their offer to look at 100 turkish rugs!  

Some of the attractions that I think are must see during a 4 or 5 day visit to Istanbul are;
-Topkapi Palace
-Hagia Sofia Museum
-The Blue Mosque
-The Grand Bazar
-Taksim Square
-A Bosporus Boat tour
-The Suleymaniye Mosque
-A local Hammam
-Sample street vendor food like, an ear of corn, fresh squeezed pomegranate juice or a doner kebab!

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, 2013.
Boats of the Bosphorus, Istanbul 2013.
Fish Market Istanbul, 2013.
The fish sandwich grilling man, Istanbul 2013.
Galata Tower, Istanbul, 2013.
Light for sale, Istanbul, 2013.
Medusa Head, Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, 2013.
Street Band near Taksim Square, Istanbul, 2013.
Street Vendor, Istanbul, 2013.
Fruit Stand, Istanbul, 2013.
Street Vendor, Istanbul, 2013.


Sent from my iPad

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The Old City Istanbul, 2013

As I have mentioned before, I am kind of a "spur-of-the-moment" guy. I like spontaneity, it makes life more exciting. So today I find myself in Istanbul, Turkey for a few weeks!

About a week ago I was checking the price of flights to Istanbul and found a round trip ticket from Lexington, Kentucky to Istanbul on Air France for less than $900.00. I though the price was great so I jumped on it. I winterized "Bertha the Truck Camper" a few weeks ago and put her in storage for the Winter, anticipating going to a warmer place like Brazil for a few months. I though a short detour to Turkey for a few weeks sounded like a good idea. The weather here is still pretty nice during the month of October, today it was cloudy and in the mid-60s, perfect weather for lots of walking.

I started my "urban exploration" of Istanbul this morning in the old city, adjacent to the Hagia Sofia Museum, once a Greek Orthodox Basilica (537 AD to 1453 AD) then a mosque (1453 to 1931) and since 1931 a museum. I am sure a few week visit will barely scratch the surface of a city where The Roman Empire, The Byzantine Empire, The Latin Empire and the Ottoman Empire all made their capitals! But here I am, planning to do my best to experience as much of Istanbul and Turkey as humanly possible.

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