Last month I got to add a new stamp to my passport (actually had to get a new passport as mine had expired) when I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey. When I got the news from my boss at Alliance Abroad Group I would be heading to Istanbul for a week, just a few days shy of the holidays, I couldn’t contain my excitement.
I had traveled to Istanbul previously, but it has been 10 to 12+ years since I’d been there, so it really for me was like going there for the first time. Plus, I had since been diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease and I was looking forward to my gluten-free travels – full well knowing it would be relatively easy to eat gluten-free in Turkey.
Reservations made (with gluten-free meals requested) and my bags packaged, I was off on my journey departing Austin via British Airways with a connection in London, and then onto to Istanbul. I always love stopping over in London, as it’s one of my favorite cities, however, it wasn’t much of a layover as I didn’t get to leave the airport – I would have loved to retrace Anthony Bourdain’s route on The Layover! What was shocking to me however was the lack of Christmas decorations. Alone stood one singular Christmas Tree just outside Harrods (I am a huge fan of their food hall in their flagship store in Knightsbridge). With London being steeped in such history & celebration of the holiday’s typically, I was truly disappointed.
The other thing that was a bit frustrating was that I didn’t find a lot of options in pre-package gluten-free foods that I could just grab-and-go from one of the many food kiosks, as I didn’t have time for an actual sit down meal between my connecting flights. Thank goodness just shortly after boarding I was served my dinner on British Airways which was chicken breast with vegetables (sorry I forgot to take a picture) which would hold me over for the remainder of my 18 hour flight.
Well . . That was Day 1 of my gluten-free travels to Istanbul, Turkey. More to come with Day 2-5!