Travel Adventures

The world is what you make of it. Some call it an oyster but I consider it more like a sunrise a beautiful experience made of the expected and unexpected and always worthy of a great photo. Follow me, everyday is an adventure if you really want it to be. And I do, how about you?

Hungry for Travel Adventures?

I always dreamed of seeing the world with my own two eyes. And now that I am so blessed to be able to see so many places, I want to share them with you!

If you’re hungry for a good travel adventure, then let’s go taste and see amazing places and food!

Traveling the world there’s a lot to see and a lot to learn. Ever since I was 8 or 9 years old, I have so longed to escape the ordinary and see the world. But it didn’t happen instantaneously. In fact, it seemed like it would never happen for me when I found myself working my way through college in my hometown. But through a series of events and a lot of growing up, I got the experience of a lifetime to travel the world via ship for graduate school (that’s a whole other story, so stay tuned for that one).

As a cook and a writer, long ago I combined those passions to start creating cooking videos. After experiencing rejection through auditioning for cooking shows, pitching pilot episodes through production studios and studying more and more about food I thought for a long time that I would just keep it as a dream within me.

But through the encouragement of my husband, on January 20, 2018 I started a YouTube channel as a place to publish and share my cooking tutorials and videos. I was humbled when people started subscribing and watching the videos and even more humbled when they cooked my recipes. I gave myself a goal of 50 published cooking videos in 6 months and I met this goal in about 4 months. Simultaneously, I was studying Turkish cooking at a Turkish culinary school (all in Turkish language) and I felt so amazing blessed to be able to spend so much time doing what I love.

This year, I have continued to expand on what I love by creating travel videos. Some of them are food focused travel videos and others are simply about places to see. My goal, is to create content that is entertaining, educational and informative. I want to take people along to see places and experience things that they may never see or do. For so long I appreciated cooking and travel videos as an outsider but now I appreciate them as an “insider.”

So why am I sharing all of this? Not only do I want to share my travels with you, yes YOU. But I also want to encourage you. If you’ve got special dreams hidden within your heart and you wonder, “how on earth will these dreams ever come true”? Don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop working hard. MANY people will not understand your dream. I can’t tell you how many people don’t understand my dreams but you know what? They don’t have to. Don’t let others discourage you but keep doing good work and learning and you’re going to see growth and change in some form.

If you’re hungry for a good travel adventure, then check out my travel videos. Let me know what you think.

Jerusalem Food Tour at Mahane Yehuda Market

Stroll through the semi-ancient streets in the west part of Jerusalem at Mahane Yehuda Market. 

Energy. Pure energy. There’s a reason why everyone recommends to go shopping on Fridays, that is the tourists recommend this because for the locals it’s equivalent to the crowds during our Christmas season. Okay, maybe not that busy, well…maybe it actually is that busy. Living in Jerusalem, I normally avoided shopping on Fridays but now I’ve come to love it. It brings me back to my days living in the crowded New York City fused with the beauty of Middle Eastern culture. It’s like a party, literally. When you walk into shops or stalls there’s frequently loud music playing and don’t be alarmed if you see the employees dancing. I like the experience because it reminds me to enjoy life. It is short after all and there’s no need to let a few crowds raise your blood pressure.

As a kid I remember going to markets with my Dad. I really loved the international markets because they opened the door to learning more about other cultures and new foods. This interest is one that never left me and I suppose that is why I like going to these types of markets no matter what city I am in.

The hospitality in Jerusalem is great and the people are friendly. This is something I love about Middle Eastern and Mediterranean culture in general. But, this market is a place of business so it is nice to come and look around but it’s nice to come and buy, lol!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There’s plenty of ready made food as well as fresh food to take with you to prepare at home. Additonally, the array of sweets, home goods, beverages and more are exceptional. check out the video above and the photos below to get a better idea of the market.

IMG_1605
Outside one of the entrances to  the market

 

IMG_1416
Inside the market

See ya!

For more Taste and See Jerusalem check out my YouTube channels:

 

All Rights Reserved

Falafel in Jerusalem – $2 Dollar/ 2 Minute Challenge

Taste and see the ancient city of Jerusalem without breaking your budget. Is it possible to eat lunch in the Old City for just $2 USD?

 

There are a plethora wonderful things to explore and eat in the city of Jerusalem. It’s so full of history and culture, that no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll be sure to have a spectacular experience.

But truth be told, Jerusalem can be a quite expensive city to visit and live in. When you’re a tourist, you may be welcomed into a restaurant only to find that your lunch costs a lot more than you were expecting (I speak from experience, lol!).

In the heart of the Old City, you’ll find the Holy sites and the colorful markets in each quarter of the city. So finding a place to eat in the Old city ensures that you can continue to explore without lunch throwing you off course.

The falafel place that I went to in this video is just through Damascus gate, right before you reach the fork in the road. You can tell that this is a place that locals and tourists alike visit, which in my opinion, is a very good sign.

DSC01740

Check out the video for my review and discover if it really is possible to eat lunch in Jerusalem for $2 USD.

See ya next time!

Travels to Israel: The Garden of Gethsemane & Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)

Although it is said that the exact location of the Garden of Gethsemane is unknown, there are many reasons that point to this location being the most likely location of where it would have been.

20170424_080951

     The Garden of Gethsemane was full of olive trees and the literal translation actually means “olive press.” The olives that were harvested from this garden were pressed to make olive oil that was of such high quality that it was reserved for kings. Is it any wonder that this is where Jesus was praying the night before His crucifixion? He was about to be pressed like these olives for the sins of all mankind.
     Today, if you choose to visit the Garden of Gethsemane (which I highly recommend if you are visiting Jerusalem, it is worth it), then you will still find a garden of olive trees* that are indeed thousands of years old.
     There is also a church called the “Church of All Nations” or Basilica of the Agony. It is absolutely stunning. From the outside, the large columns protrude from the building and a large colorful painting covers the top front part of the church building. You can look up at it but I definitely recommend crossing the street to get a better view.
20170424_083701
20170424_080758
The church photo taken from across the street.
    At the entrance, there is a sculpture of an olive tree constructed from iron that you can’t miss as you enter the church. As I walked in the church I was in awe of the beautiful purple stained glass windows, the colorful array of mosaics and the massive dome that is the canvas to even more elaborate paintings.
20170424_08311520170424_083644
    The church is dark inside for the purpose of remembering that this is the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Jesus prayed in such deep sorrow before He was handed over to be crucified. The Word describes it best.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46

     This was definitely worth visiting and I am so grateful that I got to visit it in person. If you have the opportunity and you’re interested, I would definitely add this as a place to visit.
*Factoid: olive trees can live and produce fruit for literally thousands of years. Ponder: could some of these trees been the same trees that existed when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. 
A Journey Along the Silk Road

Explore the modern world like an ancient merchant along one of the routes of the historic Silk Road.

Imagine what it would have been like to travel along the ancient Silk Road. Extending from Asia, into Europe and North Africa, the trails of the Silk Road are still known to this day. It’s not a coincidence that the cities along the Silk Road are still some of the largest places for commerce and trade and housing populations of millions of people.

While many modern cities have started recognizing and memorializing this ancient trade route, not all of them have a replica depiction of the experience.

 

20180213_122421

Along a modern-day highway, a pack of life-size camels carrying loads of goods and supplies trek along the median. Followed by one merchant, this illustration gives us an idea of what it could have looked like to journey along the Silk Road as a merchant.

20180213_124115

While many experiences about traveling on the Silk Road might remain unknown, this journey takes an imagined inspired approach to attempt to understand this part of the journey.

20180213_122728

A Traditional Turkish Coffeehouse: Tahmis Kahvesi

Take a trip back in time to simpler era. No cell phones. No laptops. No email. Taking a coffee break at Tahmis Khavesi takes you back to the essence of enjoying a good cup of coffee with good company.

One of the oldest coffeehouses in Turkey, founded in 1635 it is a treasure to visit. The decorative copper pitchers in the stained glass windows, the traditional chandeliers and the classic wood furnishings, it’s such a beautiful place to enjoy a Turkish coffee.

In the winter you’ll be warmly welcomed by the large wood burning heater that is in the middle of the building as soon as you walk in the door. If you venture up the stairs, you’ll be delighted to sit in upper level that overlooks the entire place.

There are games and books and it’s not unusual for people to play some traditional games or read but mostly you’ll just notice people enjoying the company of those that they are with.

“One neither desires coffee nor a coffeehouse. One desires to talk with others, coffee is but an excuse.” A Turkish saying.

 

20180212_133512

Drinking Turkish coffee is such a wonderful experience. Like espresso, it’s served in a small cup and it’s stronger than an average cup of coffee. But unlike espresso, it has a layer of foam on top and a thick layer at the bottom; This part, you don’t drink. The coffee is rich, thick and robust.

Turkish coffee is always served with water and frequently with Turkish delight, chocolate or some sort of snack. The sweet is meant to balance out the strong flavor of the coffee. While Turkish delight is the most traditional option, a little piece of chocolate it becoming more common.

When ordering your coffee, you can either order it without sugar “sade,” a little sugar “az sekerli, an average amount of sugar “sorta sekerli” or very sweet, “sekerli.” No matter what you’re preference, you’re in for a treat!

At Tahmis Khavesi the Turkish coffee is served with some roasted nuts and water. It’s brought to your table in an elegant coffee cup and when you remove the lid, you unveil the beautiful aroma of the steaming Turkish coffee. With one sip, you’ll taste the robust flavor and thick foam. It’s so good. Savor every sip until you reach the thick layer of grounds, which concludes the cup of coffee.

So if you’re looking to experience the best of traditional and modern, then a visit to Tahmis Kahvesi is a must. It’s a one of a kind experience for coffee lovers everywhere.

P.s. Also try the Menengiç coffee (made from the roast berries from pistachio trees) or a classic cup of Turkish tea! Or buy some coffee to take home with you!

20180212_121029

Haribo Heaven

img_3934

A beautiful rainbow colored world glistening with an array of colorful candies from floor to ceiling, tantalizing your tastebuds and fulfilling your childhood fantasies. Everywhere you look you’ll find something sweet and delicious calling your name.

No, I wasn’t wearing rose tinted glasses, I was entering the Hairibo store in Bonn, Germany, also known by me as Haribo Heaven.

Nestled along the cobblestone streets of Bonn, Germany there are many lovely sites to see. A myriad of historic and modern sites, the city offers the perfect blend of contemporary cultural pursuits and amongst them is the Haribo store.

Well worth the visit it’s chock full of just about every Hairdo candy creation you can imagine. You can buy the candy by the roll, container, canister or bag full. In the front of the store, you’ll find the latest creations and a wall of the classic Hairbo delights along with a few German only Hairdo souvenirs.

In the middle of the store you’ll find Haribo tins and canisters for filling and gift giving. As you walk towards the back of the store, there are a plethora of plastic canisters full of candies that you can purchase by the kilo to create your own special blend.

img_3935
The Haribo Bear

Before you go, don’t forget to head upstairs where you’ll find t-shirts, keychains, mugs and more! Of course, don’t be shy and say hello to the life-size Haribo yellow bear. You can snap a selfie with him to always remember and share this special visit.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Haribo Store in Bonn:

  1. Find great and affordable Souvenirs (starting just below 1 Euro)
  2. It’s a Historic Site: the creator of Haribo is from Bonn, Germany
  3. Pick up a few Sweet Treats: with all the walking you’ll do around Bonn, it’s nice to have a sweet treat to keep your energy up.
  4. Escape to child-like wonder with treats from your childhood.
  5. It’s a candy store (enough said, this is self explanatory).
Beethoven in Bonn

darius-soodmand-116246

In Bonn, Germany there are many lovely sights to see. One of my favorite by far is the Beethoven-Hauss. It is the birthplace of Beethoven and now preserved as a museum and historical sight. Although I would say that I’m fully acquainted with Beethoven’s music, this was a side to him that I’d yet to see.

Inside the museum there were collections of his old instruments, desks, music compositions, and countless pages of history describing the life and career of the musical genius Ludwig Beethoven.

However, the one thing that stood out to me was that Beethoven had an awful temper. Not just the kind of temper that when you stub your toe you get upset, no this musical genius was so notorious for his awful temper that it started to affect every area of his life including his work.

I was baffled. This musical genius, Beethoven, is renowned for his work all over the world and yet he could not control his anger. I felt sad in the moment I read it and although I moved on to reading and observing other things, this one fact really hit me to the core.

It reminded me that sometimes the only thing that stands in the way of our future is us. Rather than controlling his temper, Beethoven slew it all over the place like a salad dressing.

So what lessons can be learned from the Beethoven Bad Temper?

1.) We are responsible for our words: we will either live responsibly or always live pointing the finger at others. We must be convinced that the responsibility lies with us.

2.) Your word is your legacy: it’s recorded in history for all the world to see. This musical genius could not control his temper. It makes you really think about it. It’s not just about all the good things that you do but it’s also about what you say.

3.) Your attitude affects every area of your life. Think of it this way, you have to clean your home and you don’t want to but one way or another it has to be done. You could either clean it with an attitude of thanksgiving that says, “Thank God I have a house to clean.” Or you can do it with a bad attitude that only looks at the negative without even seeing the blessing. Maybe at one point in time you prayed for a nice home. But now that you have one, you complain about the stewardship and investment that comes in caring for it. Be careful, it could be that the present you is complaining about something now that the past you had prayed to have.

4.) Regardless of your aptitude your life is affected by your attitude: he was a genius, his musical compositions and works are still studied, admired and observed to this very day. And yet, what stood in the way of even more opportunity and growth potential for him? His attitude. His attitude limited him. A bad attitude has the potential to:

1.) Cripple what you already have

2.) Diminish your potential

3.) Hinder your reach to to connect with others

Remember when we were kids and our parents and teachers would say “check your attitude”? Don’t let your attitude rule you but rather rule your own attitude and bring it into check. Even if you’re a genius don’t think that your attitude towards others will be forgotten. Don’t let your attitude keep you from progressing in your life.

 

 

© All Rights Reserved

Once in a Lifetime: A Cappadocia Adventure

The story of why you need to add a hot air balloon to your bucket list and why Cappadocia is the best location. 

Imagine…

The sky is your home, the clouds are your neighbors, the sun is your light and the stars your guide. The uncharted territory unknown will widen your eyes. 

20161030_064114

Wonder, filled with eyes of wonder. Floating gently across the barely dawning sky like a cloud we sail. Like a sailboat for the sky we reach heights unknown and breathe a crisp autumn fresh air from 970 meters above the ground.

Beneath us are the caves, valleys, prehistoric looking craters and rock formations of Cappadocia.

We have the view of the eagles as we soar higher and then drift across the sky looking down into the Creator’s beautiful creation.

The sun barely rising it peaks up beyond the clouds and greets us with the glow of morning. It’s rays create a celestial glow across a landscape left mostly untouched by man.

20161030_060503
A hot air balloon journey across an ancient land.

If you’ve ever thought about taking a hot air balloon ride, here’s 5 reasons why you should add it to your bucket list and actually do it.

  1. You Feel Small in a Magnificent Way: We as people were made to know and seek the feeling of being small and see great wonders of creation. What a sweet embrace to feel so small and know how great God is. Creating all we see and holding it all together.
  2. I Was Made for This: we were not made for just the ordinary but to experience the extraordinary. A hot air balloon ride is extraordinary not just for the experience itself but to change your perspective.
  3. Surrounded by People in Awe: it’s a contagious feeling to be around people that see the world with awe and wonder. The people that live the exact same life as you but seem to enjoy it more. That seem to prosper and thrive more. What these people have is the right perspective. Every once in a while it’s good to check your perspective. How are you seeing this day? How are you seeing your opportunities? Do we see them with eyes of entitlement or with eyes of gratitude and wonder?
  4. A Slow Embrace: we rush through life in so many ways that when we look back we think. “where did the time go?” Taking a hot air balloon reminds you to slow down and take it all in. You don’t have to know it all, understand it all or do everything. Every once in a while we must slow down, stop and take in all of our surroundings. There’s beauty in all of it if we just change the angle we look at it and the lens in which we see it.
  5. Once in a Lifetime: it’s an experience unlike any other. Breathtaking and beautiful all at the same time. An hour spent floating hundreds of meters across the sky as the sun rises you can reflect, appreciate and embrace all that is around you and see the world beneath you in a whole new way.

About Cappadocia

Meaning “the land of horses” Cappadocia has even more to offer than beautiful horses. It’s a land of untouched beauty and one of the oldest historic places to visit in the world. With rock formations and caves formed by volcanic ash centuries ago it will make your jaw drop and widen your eyes like never before.

Survival Tactics to Living Abroad

Living abroad takes what we know as “living” and turns it upside down or right side up. It all depends on the perspective that you view it. 

Like a Child: humble yourself to view your new surroundings like a child. See it with open eyes. The world is what you make of it. If you choose to see it as full of possibility, then possibilities will appear.

img_3410Try a Little Something New: don’t be afraid of the unknown, embrace the unknown. When we try something new, we are signaling our brain to get ready for the challenge and push beyond our existing capacity.

Don’t Be Afraid to Start Again: It can seem so daunting. You’ve worked hard to build a community for yourself and then to leave it all behind. Many would rationalize what’s the point? The point is, we’re alive for more than ourselves. Everything has a season. It’s not all about us and once we realize this starting again doesn’t seem quite so bad. We must embrace the idea of starting again. Whether it’s learning how to live in a new community, understanding a local culture or just adapting to a new way of life.

Focus: you will become like whatever you’re focusing on. Think about what is good about where you are. If you’re unemployed you might have more time than ever to learn something new, train for a marathon or study a new language. FOCUS on what is good about your situation.

Hold Tight in the Process: yes it’s difficult, especially when you’re in a new place and attempting to create a routine for yourself. But stay focused in the process. Don’t give up because with each step you make you’re getting along the road. Before you know it, you’ll be at your destination.

You’re Doing Better than You Think You’re Doing: you will not always be a beginner or brand new. Although the beginning stages feel so challenging, take hope. With each new day, you’re learning and growing. You’re doing better today than you were yesterday just because you have another day under your belt so you are one day wiser. Focus on the progress you’re making and not the lack of progress you have yet to make.

© All Rights Reserved