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?


Ethnoquest said...

It seems that the venerable NYT agrees with your assessment of Istanbul (Diana and I certainly do!).

It's number 19 on the 31 places to go in 2010 list.

I have to say, however, that Beirut was first on the list in 2009... :)

TnT said...

i want to come in May!

the Buckners said...

May I fill in the post-ween dot dot dot? Go to Albania.....number 10, 456 of 31 places to go in 2010 list!

And all the women here will laugh at the pitiful 40-80 layers in Baklava. Everybody knows you must have 100+ to prove yourself a REAL woman!

the Buckners said...

...and your scarf is lovely! Somebody very talented and gifted with knitting needles must have put a ton of love and care into that!

Holly said...

Spices, soaps, jewelry, baklava? Sounds like paradise to me!

Jamie and James said...

Bill, I'm not sure if I trust that NYT article... L.A. was on the list. Need I say more? Tracy, COME!!! May is BEAUTIFUL in Turkey. Can Tom get away from the hay farm that time of year? Kristal, since Albania is that far down on the list, I guess that means you'll have to come to us instead of us coming to you:-) And do Albanian women seriously use 100 layers of phyllo dough? That is intense. And the scarf was either knitted by someone with talent, or someone who bought "smart wool". Holly, you're right. Beypazari is my favorite new find in Turkey.

Margaret said...

I can't wait to visit Beypazari next time I get to Turkey, It's actually 6th on my list of things to see in Turkey. Right after Clara, Marie, Elise, Jamie, and James---not necessarily in that order.

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