Read his captivating story and tips for those who are going to visit the beautiful destination – Turkey.

Selim Akyol

When Selim’s mother and father met and fell in love, they both lived in Zurich. She was originally from the French-speaking part of Switzerland and he from the Southern part of Turkey near to the Syrian border – a place called Hatay. Selim was born, raised and lived the entire time in Switzerland with the incredible opportunity to be not only bilingual but speaking three languages already as a small child – German, French and Turkish. Selim’s father owns a restaurant and just recently retired. A big part of his family still lives in Turkey and so Selim visits at least two times a year. Here we go with some recommendations from him.

  • Typical food you would advise people to try: Kavurma dish consists of pieces of lamb, fried in a Turkish pan with onions, paprika and pepperoni which give it a unique taste. You can eat it with rice. The name of the dish comes from the preparation technique qawirma (“[a] fried thing”).
    Turkish Traditional Food Kavurma Guvec


  • Typical drink: I would mention two of them. One many of you who enjoy Turkish cuisine know is Ayran – the yoghurt-drink and the second one is Raki – brandy with alcohol volume reaching from 40 – 80%. It is similar to grappa, rakija or slivovitz.
Ayran is made of yoghurt and a unique drink in Turkish daily life
  • The most beautiful place: As a sailor, I recommend everything connected to sailing and beaches. With friends and ex-colleagues from Switzerland I make regular sailing trips to the Gulf of Fethiye which has a lot of ca. 50-60 small islands, the wind blowing always from the direction of Greece and the most beautiful clear water I have ever seen, 20m down and awesome bays just for you alone.

    Sailing trip
  • Most famous sight: The Mosque/Church Hagia Sophia in Istanbul – for a simple reason, originally it was an Orthodox Greek Christian church, later an imperial Ottoman mosque and recently it is a museum bringing both cultures together, which is a nice thing.
Hagia Sophia
  • Mostly used greeting in the local language: Selam alejkum which means as much as “Peace be upon you”. Or less formal Merhaba – from Ottoman Turkish – as „Grüezi“.
  • Most famous personality: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk as the founder of the Republic of Turkey. He took the Swiss Constitution as an inspiration or let us say pillar for the Constitution of Turkey.
  • Typical dessert: Let me mention one that is not so well known maybe, but it is very sweet and very delicious. Künefe containing the kadayif noodles or rice, mozzarella and a lot of sugar and some pistachios. The dessert comes from the area where my father has his roots, so Hatya (Antioch).
  • Recommended means of transport: For longer distances definitely by plane and otherwise I would recommend the car – easy to rent but be prepared for the local driving style ?.

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