Thursday, June 30, 2011

Turkish Pide and a Hot Air Balloon Ride

In Turkey, I discovered bread is flat bread and the earth is rocky.
Like a 15th-century explorer, I traveled halfway across the globe and found pide. This Turkish flatbread, similar to its pita bread cousin of the Middle East, is also the name for their pizza. And like a cartographer, I mapped out this cart
in front of the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul.

These canoe-shaped offerings were not to be confused with the boats across the street.

These vessels were shot from the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn that separates both sides of the city. The New Mosque is in the background, and the Spice Bazaar is directly to the right of it.

These boats were docked inside the Spice Bazaar, but my stomach was saving itself for the next leg of the journey.

The region of Cappadocia in central Turkey rocks with surreal landscapes and caves. We stayed in the town of Goreme.

They rolled out the red carpets for our arrival. Nothing says "welcome" like a sales pitch.

Except maybe the veggie pide I ordered while charting this lunch course.

The next morning, this was the scene from our cave hotel window. So I decided to fork over my life savings.

The following day I arrived at the launch pad before sunrise.

I highly recommend standing in a crammed shoebox with 11 strangers ogling X-rated rocks.

It quickly turned into rush hour on the 405.

Luckily they were more courteous drivers than in LA.

These rock formations from volcanic ash are called "fairy chimneys." The valleys were once a refuge for Byzantine Christians and monks.

Some monks have more passionate priestly pursuits than others.

After an hour, we were spent like next month's rent.

Cheap champagne awaited us at 7 am. Where was that famous monk, Dom Perignon?

It may have been touristy, but it was a real high point of the journey.

This pide also rose and was full of hot air. But not as much dough.


  1. I remember a flat bread in Turkey called "ekmek." The manager of our hotel wouldn't let guests bring in outside bread, so we called him "anti-ekmek."

  2. Fedex me some of those pizza bread things next time you go there, they look great!

  3. Goodness, you have the best adventures!!!!!!

  4. I would have been scared to death to up in one of those balloons. What if a big wind came and blew you away... how would you get back? Just saying.

  5. I love Istanbul. Your pictures brought back great travel memories. I loved experiencing your hot air balloon ride here. Funny and fantastic!

  6. Such a beautiful country and wonderful food! Thank you for sharing your pide! Did you bring back the recipe, I need some pide.

  7. Great travel pics. Thanks for taking us on the journey. Very interesting natural topography. They remind me of stalagmites in caves, but on a much larger scale. Tried the caving thing a few times, it's not my thing.

  8. So what happens if one balloon rear-ended another one, 405-style? Would y'all fall down?

    I'm not a fan of those phallic rocks. They look like they'd hurt if you didn't hit it right.


    P.S. Lovely photos! Definitely a part of the world I've never been.