A completely different trip…
In 2010, in late July, I travelled to Constantinople. Back then, I could not even imagine to become a chef. This trip was completely different. I travelled with my older brother and my uncle, who is a monk in the monastery of Agia Triada, in Ano Gatzea, Volos.
It was my first trip abroad, even though I don’t consider Constantinople is abroad as it is Greek… Anyway, it was both my first and my last bus trip.
Our trip began from the town hall of Volos. We departed at 5:30 in the morning and we arrived in Constantinople at 17:30 in the afternoon. As you can imagine, it was a long and tiring journey. However, we crossed half of Greece by bus and we admired amazing views.
When we arrived, we went straight to the hotel on Taksim Square. We were going to stay for 4 days to see anything Greek.
We visited the aqueduct of Ualentos (Bozdoğan Kemeri), the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi). But the highlight was Agia Sophia (Ayasofya). It’s an incredible place, where you are awed and you realize the Greek history and the orthodox history through the centuries. Also, you can see how faithful people used to be. We spent many hours there and we listened to the history in details by the monks. We felt strong and able to do a lot of things, both as a nation and individuals, by believing in God. I truly believe that every Greek should visit, at least once, Constantinople.
We continued our gastronomy trip by tasting any traditional Turkish dish ,but also any Greek food we could find. Even if I wasn’t a chef, I loved the food and especially sweets. Going there you think about syrup sweets (baklava, Kazan dipi, kadaify, Turkish delight). We also tasted a lot of hot dishes. Something interesting is that it was difficult to find alcohol easily.
We also sailed to Bosporus and admired more tourist attractions. We visited the traditional Turkish open air market Kapaliçarşi. We saw amber worry beads , eastern spices and herbs and the well known shisha(oriental pipe).
Another thing that impressed me was, that you could meet wealthy or very poor neighborhoods, not something in-between them! You could see amazing buildings, many yachts, but on the other hand you could see dirty streets, filled with rubbish and generally, poverty!
An amazing experience….
It was my first big trip. Tasting the original baklava was the second most important thing for me. I will always remember spending all my money on the popular pastry shop, Saray. I bought 7 packets of sweets. It was an amazing experience which I would definitely do again, but only by plane.