Thursday, January 31, 2013

Architectural Files 3: Optical Glass House

A recently completed Japanese project that caught my eye was the Optical Glass House by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP. Nakamura used to work under my favorite architect, Kengo Kuma (check post), and its evident The house was created by a busy road in Hiroshima, and it was made as a private residence where residents can enjoy overlooking the streets without being seen.  The facade is made of glass bricks which give a water riple effect to the house tucked inside, behind the garden, which is visible to all the rooms within the house.  Both the glass and garden give tranquility and privacy to the residents.  Aiding in the privacy, is the garage is found in the ground level, and the garden is on top of that, adding to the beauty of the project.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Visit to Life & Style Expo

A great expo for home owners and kaftan lovers.  It will be held until January 31st in AlBaraka Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
معرض لايف اند ستايل رائع ويصلح للمهتمين بالأثاث واكسسوارات البيت ومحبي الأزياء.  يمتد المعرض الى يناير 31 في قاعة البركة في فندق كراون بلازا.
 Samovar Carpets
Aisha AlFadhel
 Vitrine Boutique
 The Pillow Case
 The Iris House

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flora in Istanbul, Turkey

Most of you who know me, or follow me on instagram, know that I'm crazy about flowers.  I always have a fresh arrangement in my room, and I find an excuse to adorn my home (or tent) with flowers when I plan gatherings.  When I travel, I find beauty and tranquility in the sight of green mainly flowers, especially if they're native to that country.  As a travel blogger, I will try posting flower posts of the countries I travel to.
اللي يعرفني عدل أو يشوف الإنستقرام يعرف اني أموت على الورد.  البيت ما يخلى من منه ودايما أدور عذر لأني أزين البيت بالورد خاصة إذا كانت عندي يمعه.  

Kosebasi - Istanbul, Turkey

This restaurant located  just off Nisantasi, facing Park Hyatt Hotel, specializes in kebabs.  Its a chain restaurant internationally renowned so some of you might have come across it.  I know they've got a branch in Bahrain, but some say its not as good as the one in Istanbul.  Kosebasi serves delicious traditional Anatolian cuisine and I definitely recommend it for lunch if you're living in this area.  Kosebasi Bosphorus and Kosebasi Reina (also in Bosphorus only open in the Summer) both just opened their doors.
يقع مطعم كوشيباشي تقريباً عند شارع نيشانتاشي ومقابل فندق بارك حياة.  يتخصص هذا المطعم الأنطالي بالكباب اللذيذ.  يمكن سمعتوا فيه أو مريتوا على إحدى فروعه,  أنا سمعت إن اللي في البحرين مو لذيذ كثر مطعم اسطنبول.  أنصح في المطعم وخاصة للغداء إذا كنتوا ساكنين في المنطقة.  افتتح حديثاً كوشيباشي البوسفور وكوشيباشي رينا (ايضا على البوسفور لكن يفتح في الصيف فقط).

Address: Bronz Sokak 5, Macka (Nisantasi branch)
Tel.: 02122303868

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Travel Advice: What to do in Istanbul, Turkey - Part II

After being done with the hard stuff: visiting Topkapi Sarayi and neighboring sights, everything else will be less time consuming.  Grand Bazaar should be next, and then if you're interested the Egyptian Spice Bazaar, which is close by.  You will need a lot of time in the Grand Bazaar, about 3 hours of continuous shopping for Turkish products and artifacts, just because its a huge place and you could easily get lost there.
No visit to Istanbul is complete if you haven't experienced the Turkish Hammam.  I did some research and came to the conclusion that the best luxurious hammam is the one in Four Seasons Bosphurus.  But if you're looking for a more traditional hammam then there's the 300 year old Cagaloglu Hamami.  I haven't been to any.

You have to witness one of those street Sufi whirling dervish in the Galata area or at least book through your hotel to go to a show.  We experienced it at the Hodja Pasha.
Escape the city in the morning to Princes' Islands through a ferry ride, where the Turks have their summer homes.  There are no cars there, so you can enjoy the island walking or bicycle riding.

Visit Dolmabahce Palace by the Bosphorus, early morning to beat the long queues, there will be a guided tour to the palace plus if you're interested get the double ticket to enter the Harem.  The visit won't take long.  You can later visit Istanbul Modern, a five minute taxi ride, if you love arts. The place would take about one hour.
Visit the modern mosque, Sakirin Mosque, I wrote a post about before.  Its on the Asian side, so it would take a while, you will get to see that side of Istanbul.

Ferry around Bosphorus.

Best places to grab lunch other malls like the famous Istinye Park, are Bebek area, which is also good place for breakfast, remember my post on Kitchenette breakfast. Ortokoy area is good for lunch and dinner, whether casual or smart. That's where Angelique was.  Just next door in Zuma. Other similar restaurants there, include Reina, Sortie, Blackk.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ULUS 29 - Istanbul, Turkey

Of what I have read and heard, Ulus29 is the number one dining spot in Istanbul, located in the stylish Levent area. The name comes from "29" dishes on the menu. Famous people dress to go there, therefore booking ahead is advised.  The interiors are beautiful, even though we wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather and gaze from high above the city and have a chance to gaze upon the magnificent Bosphurus by sitting in the terrace area, I think getting a table inside is a must.  The food was really good, fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, I enjoyed everything.  My main course was huge though, I would say enough for 2 person, made up of kebabs and steak on top of yogurt. This is a place I would definitely go back to.
من أكثر  المطاعم اللي سمعت وقريت عنها مطعم أُولوس 29 في حي ليفينت في اسطنبول والمطعم يزوره المشاهير وأغنياء اسطنبول وعلى هذا الأساس عليكم الحجز قبل فترة وأنصح بطاولة بالداخل بسبب الديكور الحلو.  إحنا قعدنا برا بسبب ان حجزنا متأخر وكان ودنا نجابل المنظر من فوق المدينة واللي يطل على البوسفور.  سمي المطعم بـ29 لأن المنيو فيه 29 طبق خليط بين الغربي والشرقي.  طلبت طبق الكباب التركي مع الستيك والروب والطبق في الحقيقة يصلح لشخصين من كبره.  كل شي طلبناه كان لذيذ وأكيد يستاهل زيارة ثانية.

Address:  Kirechane Sokak 1, Ahmet Adnan Saygun Caddesi, Ulus Parki
Opening times: 12:00 - 3:00pm, 7:00pm - midnight

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Travel Advice: What to do in Istanbul, Turkey - Part I

There's tons of places to visit in Istanbul, Turkey. The number one place to visit, and if you're there for a few days and have no time to do any sightseeing, head to the sights around Sultanahmet, which are Topkapi Sarayi, Hagia Sophia, and Sultanahmet Mosque (also known as Blue Mosque).  Be there when the doors open. starting with Topkapi Palace (thats where the famous Sultan Sulaiman, of the hit show Sultan's Harem, lived in), you'll need around 2-3 hours maximum in there if you're planning on seeing everything there, the Haremlique is not to be missed, and then there's the various museums.  When you're done, go to Hagia Sophia nearby (walking distance), which is a church that was converted to an Islamic church. It will take you around 10 min to walk around in this place.  Finally head straight to the Blue Mosque, a 5 min walk from Hagia Sophia, where you will have to cover up and leave shoes outside before entering, the mosque is still used for prayers. The visit will last to less than 5 minutes, just in time for lunch.
من أهم معالم اسطنبول المعالم حول منطقة سلطان احمد وهم قصر توبكابي (لمحبي مسلسل حريم السلطان) وآيا سوفيا ومسجد سلطان أحمد.  الأفضل الإبتداء من قصر توبكابي عند فتح أبوابه لتفادي الزحمة ولأن المكان يحتاج لـ2-3 ساعات لأن في الحرمليك وبعض المتاحف.  بعد الإنتهاء توجهوا الى آيا سوفيا واللي هو بجانب القصر وهو كان كنيسة حولوها لمسجد والزيارة تاخذ 10 دقائق بالكثير. بعدها وبمسافة 5 دقائق مشياً مسجد السلطان أحمد واللي يستخدم للصلاة حتى الآن. بعد كل هذه الزيارات راح تكون فترة غداء.
Topkapi Sarayi
Hagia Sophia (Ayasophya)
 Sultanahmet (Blue mosque)