Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Day Trip

Last week our friend Chris came to visit. It was a good excuse for us to get out and see some things.

James went to Istanbul to meet Chris at the airport and then tour him around the city a bit. Istanbul is AMAZING. It's one place I would highly recommend to anyone. Absolutely beautiful city with so much rich history. You have to watch out for everyone trying to make a buck off the tourists (carpet salesmen, shoe shiners, people selling all sorts of trinkets) but it's well worth braving that circus to see the sights.

Or is it see the sites? I'm confused on that point, among other things.

I just have to mention here that this is James' second trip to Istanbul since we've been a family of five (the past four months) and I've gone a total of zero times. I stay home and watch the wee ones. I've told James that once Clara is weaned I'll be getting paid back for my multiple sacrifices. He'll stay with the kids and I'll. . . well, I'll go do something. Not sure what just yet. What do mothers of small children do for a weekend away? I don't know. But it will be something. That's for sure.

Upon James and Chris' arrival in Ankara, I forced them back out the door (I think they were hoping to catch a few winks after not sleeping on a night train) and we took a day trip to Beypazari. Just an hour away, but I'd never been before.

Beypazari grows something like 65% of Turkey's carrots. That's a lot of carrots man. They make some tasty stuff with the carrots too. One kind shop owner gave us homemade pieces of carrot flavored Turkish delight. I didn't have high expectations, I mean carrot Turkish delight? Serious? But I was flabbergasted. It was quite possibly the best tasting Turkish delight I've ever eaten. And that's really saying something.

The little town is also full of silversmiths. They make absolutely beautiful jewelry.

I spotted this friendly chap in his shop tinkering away at a delicate silver necklace like the ones displayed on the wall behind him. He told us (and demonstrated) all about cutting the silver, bending it, making it into beautiful things.

I think Elise and I could have enjoyed perusing the sparkly stuff a bit longer, but James wasn't into it. Boys... what are you gonna do?

This is Beypazari's fameous 80 layer baklava. A bit of baklava trivia for you. . . most baklava is 40 layers, but the folks in Beypazari stepped it up a notch or two or 40 and make theirs with 80 layers. Free samples. De-lish.

Hand made soaps in all different scents. I bought pomegranate, orange, and apricot.

Dried peppers, eggplants, spices, and what not. I picked up some dried celery to throw into my soups. Celery stalks are a bit hard to come by around here, so dried celery leaf seems like just the type of thing I need.

Saving the best for last. These ladies are dressed in the traditional clothes for this part of Turkey. I think it is one hundred percent awesome! I mean if I lived here and donned one of these flowey outfits, nobody would know it if I ate too much baklava and turkish delight and gained five or fifty pounds. Beautiful.

The verdict: I LOVE BEYPAZARI. I can't wait to go back. I hear that in May cherries are in season and the thought of fresh cherries and cherry treats makes me giddy with anticipation. And May would be the perfect time to visit Turkey. Chris, do you want to come back?

Monday, 4 January 2010


I went down to the yarn store a couple days ago. Apparently they also sell lady's nylons. Just to make sure everyone knows it, they put one on display out on the sidewalk. So tasteful...

Wait a minute. . . this scene looks strangely familiar. . . could it be the leg from The Christmas Story major award?!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Pazar

I went to the pazar again today... I still love it. It's such a feast for the senses. So colorful. So loud. So YUMMY... did I mention before that they are always holding out bits of tasty goodness to try as you walk around? A little section of a juicy orange. A sweet strawberry. A crisp slice of apple. A salty olive. I'm getting hungry just remembering it. Hold on... I'm going to go have a mandarin orange.

Okay, I'm back. So as I was saying, I went to the pazar this morning and took along my camera so you could enjoy it with me... well except for the tastes, sounds, and smell and feels. Is feels a word? Can I use it in that sentence?

I think these are four types of radishes. I haven't been brave enough to buy any of them because 1) I don't like radishes. 2) I'm really not sure if that's what they are... and if not, how do I use them? and 3) Black radishes? Weird.

Fruits and veggies of all kinds. . . I'm getting hungry again.

There are always these little hand made signs trying to let the pazar goers know just how amazingly good the produce is. Usually fruit says "like sugar" or "like honey," but this one, "like baklava" was new to me. Apparently this orange is sweet as a sticky piece of baklava. . . it also has a "thin skin" and is "SUPER!" And if knowledge that an orange is super doesn't make you want to buy it, what will?

More mandarin oranges than you can shake a stick at.

This guy was really excited about me taking pictures. Said I have to get a photo of his beautiful pomegranate flower.

There it is. Ain't that a beaut?! Smack dab in between the mandarins and the Asian pears. Next the pomegranate guy said he wanted copies of the pictures. He asked if I could post them on facebook. Awkward moment because. . .

Rabbit trail. Yesterday I accidently found out that someone had blocked me on facebook. Yes. Blocked me. As in I can't see you, you can't see me, we never cross facebook paths. I was a little sad. But then today I was desperately wishing for a real life face-to-face facebook "block" or even "ignore" button. Because, no offense pomegranate guy who I just met and probably wont ever see again except when I really want a ruby red juicy pomegranate, but I don't really want to be facebook friends with you, and it's awkward telling you that to your face.

Dried fruits and nuts.

An assortment of freshly baked breads. . . Am I the only one who suddenly wants a bagel? Too bad I can't get them in Turkey. But I can get bazlama. Take that bagel eaters!

And see those square tins. They're full of homemade cheese. It's good too! Kind of feta-ish. I bought a bag full.

Saving the best for last. . . OLIVES!
This woman lives along the Mediterranean. She and her family grow and make olives and olive oil (the two bottles on the bottom right are full of homemade olive oil). She's not a regular at the pazar, but came today to sell her olivey goodness. And apparently she also makes stuffed cabbage leaves, since that's what her grandson is eating for lunch. Yummy, yummy, and yummy.