I am adding onto the original teaser post which featured the photo
below of a feline guardian at a mosque in Urla. If you left a comment
back in October, don’t be surprised to see it attached to this post.
sunday, 27 October
Alsancak — İzmİr, Turkey
This whole week went by in the blink of an eye. Didn’t do much until the weekend came around, nor did I exercise the camera shutter a great deal. In fact, the photos that accompany the words summarizing Monday through Friday are all from previous visits to İzmir ;-)
Monday … taking a shortcut through Kültürpark [Culture Park] Mui and I went to Basmane Garı [gar = train station] to pick up his ticket for a weekend trip to Eskişehir to visit his sister. While we were out and about, we also bought a new cell phone for me as the ancient one I was using gave up the ghost.
Tuesday … Mui flew to Ankara to spend the remainder of his time in Turkey with his mother. I spent the day getting settled in after being on the road for weeks on end … laundry, ironing, balancing the travel budget — such exciting chores.
Wednesday … a high-speed walk on Kordon [the waterfront promenade] — the first of many while I’m in town; at least that’s the plan.
Clockwise from Top Left: the outdoor waiting salon at Basmane Garı;
KÜltÜrpark; Reyhan — at the Optimum outlet mall; İzban route map;
optimum; a phaeton on the kordon waterfront promenade.
[optimum photos and İzban route map courtesy of their respective websites]
Thursday … shopping! Not my favorite pastime, but with luggage space at a premium for the varied itinerary on this trip, I did not pack dressy clothes for the cruise that will take us from Turkey back to the US. Hopping on the İzban lightrail system, Aylin and I went to Optimum, an outlet shopping mall in the ‘burbs. After long hours of browsing, I managed to pick up a pair of silky black slacks, a chiffon blouse, and cute little dress booties. We capped our outing with tea at Reyhan Pastanesi [pastane = patisserie].
Friday … afternoon tea with my cousin, Ruhan, and his wife, Cici [sweet, pretty]. Her name is actually Serpil, but the nickname Aylin gave her when she married into the family has stuck through the years. Referring to our visit as afternoon tea doesn’t do justice to the feast with which Serpil tempted our palates.
Ruhan Abİ and Serpİl
with my aunt (who passed away a few years ago),
and their daughters, Duygu (left) and Asli.
Taken Christmas eve 1984 at mom’s condo.
P.S. [Updated in 2014] — I am especially glad now that we made the time for this visit with my cousin; he succumbed to cancer and passed away in February 2014.
That takes care of the week. Now for the weekend — which saw us making two day trips west of the city … one to Urla, a town I don’t recall visiting in recent years; and another one to Alaçatı, a town that we visit on every trip I make to Turkey.
The mid-point marker is Urla, where we went yesterday;
the end point marker is Alaçati — today’s destination.
Saturday, 26 October …
After breakfast at Aylin’s, we piled in the car and went to Urla, a small town located on an isthmus about 25 miles [40 km] west of İzmir. Mom and Aylin wanted to pick up some fresh produce from the Saturday farmers market first. Then we went to Lale Katmercisi, a small eatery specializing in a square-shaped pastry that can be prepared either with sweet or savory fillings.
[Photos courtesy of LöplöpÇüler]
The collage above pretty much sums up how a katmer is made. What isn’t so evident is that the dough is rolled out, and spun around in the air if necessary, to render it so thin as to be nearly transparent. Since we were having it for lunch, we opted for a savory katmer to share. And we added an order of çi börek, a traditional deep-fried savory pastry that was introduced to Turkey by the Crimean Tatars. Dessert was sakızlı keşkül, an almond based milk pudding … in this case with mastic gum added to give it a slightly different taste and texture.
Admittedly, this wasn’t the healthiest of meals. So, after lunch we followed a meandering route back to the car … to make ourselves feel better about the calories we had ingested ;-) I don’t know that the walk helped our waistlines, but I did enjoy browsing through the antiques market with my camera, and grabbing a quick shot or two of the Fatih İbrahim Paşa Camii [cami = mosque].
From lanterns, to door knockers, to bells decorated with traditional evil eye beads.
Fatİh İbrahİm Bey Camİİ and its feline guardian.
The 16th century mosque was constructed on the orders of an Ottoman governor by the same name.
Our day wasn’t quite finished. Back in the city, we dropped off our market purchases at home and headed to Tea & Pot, a cute tea house — and one of our favorites — in Alsancak.
I didn’t take any photos at Tea & Pot today, so this collage from 2012 will have to do.
ZEYNEP AND NİHAN (top right) are the proprietresses of Tea & Pot.
And that’s how yesterday went. Moving on to …
Aylin once again hosted mom and me for breakfast. One of these times I will remember to take some photos; she does put on a nice spread! Afterwards, we headed to Çesme where we visited the market. While mom and Aylin shopped the fresh produce stalls, I checked out the countless booths selling clothes at heavily discounted prices and came away with a couple of collared t-shirts to add to my cruise wardrobe.
If there is a theme to the blog posts I put up about my trips to Turkey it’s probably food! That’s because there are so many quaint and cozy places where one can eat a meal, have a pastry or two, or simply enjoy liquid refreshments. Charming little cafés, bistros, tea houses … all with a different ambiance — a personality, if you will. There are always some new places that Aylin and Murat, together with Mom, have scouted out for my enjoyment. Today was no exception.
After completing our shopping, we drove the short distance to Alaçatı for a late lunch at Asma Yaprağı [which translates as “vine leaf;” website in Turkish]. In operation since new year’s eve 2010, this lovely little restaurant is on a quiet street lined with houses that have second floor bay windows that are very much like enclosed balconies.
The proprietors pride themselves on featuring traditional Aegean recipes cooked with fresh, seasonally available ingredients and produce. The daily menu is listed on a chalkboard, but diners don’t have to rely on it to make their selections — they can go right into the kitchen and see what’s what for themselves.
Taking advantage of the beautiful, sunny weather, we took a table in the courtyard — which had the advantage of giving me several photo ops in addition to providing a setting for dining al fresco.
We did a tapas style lunch, ordering several small dishes to share … from the kızılcık şerbeti (a lemonade type drink made with cranberry-like berries, and flavored with a cinnamon stick), to ot kavurma (braised herbaceous greens) served with yogurt, to kabak sinkonta (a regional zucchini dish), to saç kavurma (braised meat cooked in an iron skillet) served with bulgur, to pirinç yemeği (a dish made with rice, tomatoes, and peppers) … everything was delicious and sated our appetite so well that we didn’t feel the need to top off our meal with dessert.
Where to start … that’s the dilemma!
Clockwise from Top Left: Ot kavurma; saç kavurma; herbs for seasoning the
saç kavurma, kabak sİnkonta, kizilcik Şerbetİ, and PİrİnÇ yemeğİ.
What a way to top off not just the day, but my third week in Turkey!