With four weeks to rest and rev up for the fall season I, along with five of my close friends, made the most of our European proximity and headed on over to Turkey just as soon our week in London came to a close… First stop on the agenda? Istanbul! A city known for its rich culture, historical architecture, spices and sweets that I’ve long dreamed of discovering in person…

Below is the start of a little photographic journal I’m excited to share with you…captured moments of summer sunsets over the Sea of Marmara, ambient chandeliers lighting up the Hagia Sophia, Turkish rugs decorating the entry of the Grand Bazaar….Kebobs with a kick, and lively lanterns that draw in passersby for samples of Turkish Delight (my new favorite tea time accompaniment)…Cotton yarns interwoven on looms that will soon become the vibrant carpets we learned how to make…

This colorful country’s capital did not disappoint, leaving us with strong cravings for unforgiving Turkish coffee and those little gummy squares of goodness…speckled with bits of pistachio and covered in coconut :)

Seaside Sunset Chandeliers of Hagia Sophia Turkish Carpets Turkish Delight Cotton Threads Bazaar Lanterns Turkish Kebobs Grand Bazaar Carpets Turkish Rugs Cotton Threads on a Loom

Would you like to know the secret behind the strongest Turkish Tea? Come close and I’ll tell you. Istanbul locals pride themselves (and rightfully so, mind you) on Apple Tea. Hot or cold, young or Old. Traditional tea pots there are two stories high. The bottom pot is filled with cold water, while the pot on top cradles the (loose) tea leaves. This is placed on the stove and brought to a boil. The boiling water is then poured over the tea leaves in the top pot, and refilled with cold water for a second round of boilage. During round II you see, the tea leaves will brew and fall gently to the bottom of the pot. As you can imagine, this top pot full of tea will be quite strong, which is why the bottom pot (now full of hot water) is there to ‘dilute’ your cup as you see fit. Clever, yes?

….It sold me, as you can imagine… I hope to feature my lovely double decker here on the blog someday soon should it spark your interest :)

So many moments of this trip brought me back to my time in Oman earlier this year….Do you remember the Persian Gulf breezes, blue skies and jewel-toned dyes?

In case you were curious, I took nearly 1,000 pictures, so narrowing them down for this sacred space was no easy feat…That being said, I’ll indulge myself in 3 helpings of Turkey Time here on Tutus&Tea, this being part I. I do hope you’ll come back for more!

Perhaps you’ll want to pop over to “Foodista on Pointe”  ~ a lovely friend, fellow dancer and foodie blogger who also captured our traveling highlights!

….and lastly, if your strong brew has yet to wear off, I’ll offer you the sneakiest peak into my Sarasota guest performing endeavors.. a preview for the Sarasota International Dance Festival’s Gala performance in August!

That’s all for now folks! Go make room for more ;)

apple tea & me.