Rani Cheema

New York, New York Travel Agent

Places to Visit in Turkey

Exotic Travel Destinations and Adventurous Culinary Tourism - How I Found Places to Visit in Turkey

As a seasoned culinary traveler and former art director for the Food Network, I recognize the value of awakening all five senses. I consider myself adventurous because I enjoy visiting exotic travel destinations and sampling all types of tantalizing dishes. But I never imagined my international travel excursions could challenge my sixth sense and teach me a lesson about preconceived notions.

I am a native of New York City, a renowned mecca for all cultures and cuisines. Born and bred in NYC, I confidently walked the bustling streets at all hours of the day and night without worry. Plus, as a backpacker, I have headed out with limited resources to face the unpredictable wonders of the natural world. And yet I still had reservations about taking a solo trip to Turkey because of my opinions and judgments of Turkish people in the most conservative parts of the country.

My sixth sense told me it could be dangerous for an American woman who speaks English to travel alone to Turkey. Before I left, I even questioned if I was asking for trouble. But I had heard of the fantastic places to visit in Turkey and longed to taste the world’s best kebab. Despite these trepidations, a compelling desire to see Turkey fueled my journey to this mysterious and faraway place. After all, it was the only way I would get to sink my teeth into a real Turkish kebab!

My solo quest for the ultimate kebab would take me from Istanbul to Gaziantep, then from Gaziantep to Hasenkeyf. Upon arrival, I felt my anxiety mount as I realized I was on my own in a country that might be indifferent to an American woman. However, I soon discovered all of this was utterly wrong and felt foolish about my unfounded fears.

Much like many female visitors to NYC, I cautiously eyed the men around me. My defensive mechanisms were in full force as I hit the streets in Turkey. But everyone I met along the way just wanted to help me get to my destination safely. 

The men I encountered did not speak English but would call a friend to translate what I was saying so they could point me in the right direction. They carefully listened to me. And now I heard what they were saying, rather than what I thought they would say.

In fact, I had one taxi driver who went above and beyond the call of duty for me. He dedicated himself to ensuring I had a fantastic visit to his town of Batman while I waited for my flight back to Istanbul. All of the friendly folks I met made it possible for me to navigate my way through an unfamiliar land.

Once I dismissed my inaccurate assumptions, I discovered the international language of tasty cuisine speaks to everyone in a way that is easy to understand. I found one of my favorite places on the globe through cultural immersion and eating my way through Turkey. Being surrounded by helpful people made me feel cool as a cucumber and ready to experience the wonders of this magnificent country.

From Turkish tea before breakfast to baklava after my evening meal, I feasted on countless culinary delights. Spinach, fish, lamb, cheese, and yogurt became dietary mainstays during my stay in Turkey. And the authentic Turkish kebabs were far superior to those quickly prepared and sold by corner vendors in my native city. I gathered recipes to cook home that always bring me back to the robust flavors I tasted in Turkey.

And as I ate my way through Turkey, depending on the friendly direction from natives, I feasted my eyes on incredible sites. From the splendor of Topkapi Palace to historical Turkish baths, I imagined the original days of Ottoman cuisine that inspired the Turkish dishes we savor today. After my daily adventures, I wrapped myself in the softness of an authentic Turkish towel and discovered the true meaning of relaxation.

Ultimately, this solo trip to Turkey turned out to my favorite vacation of all time because it brought all my sense to life! And the richness and legitimacy of my travels help me plan one-of-a-kind adventures for all types of travelers.

I pay attention to every travel detail for foodies, honeymooners, cultural observers, and, of course, hesitant solo travelers. Discover the unforgettable cornerstone of international cuisine and culture - and let these experiences awaken all your senses! Let me tastefully help you experience the sensory wonders of the world. 

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