Enroute to Kuradasi....
Merhaba to all of you. The group was pretty tired yesterday. We are not sure if that was due to the lack of coffee being served in the hotel or jet lag. At our hotel this morning we were greeted with COFFEE. Yes, regular, ordinary, out of the coffee urn type coffee. This was greeted with much glee by most of the group. We seem to have more energy – it must be the coffee.
Today I would like to tell you about the food of Turkey.
First, let’s talk about snacks. For the past two days we have been travelling by coach from Istanbul enroute to Kusadasi. We have had long times on the coach, however we do stop frequently for bathroom breaks and this often is followed with the ritual of buying snacks. Buying snacks in a foreign country becomes an adventure with everyone trying different things, sharing and, usually convincing others to buy what they have bought. For example, on yesterday’s first stop we had an array of chips to choose from. Yes, there was the Pringles – always a safe bet but in Turkey the flavor is Hot and Spicy Paprika. The local brand, Cispo, is a tasty little treat – almost like Lays. The favorite flavor so far is Ege Lezzeti. As best we can tell it is a garden herb/tzatiski flavor.
We also discovered chocolate bars – bitter chocolate (dark), milk chocolate with pistachios and chocolate biscuits. And, then there is the local version of Drumsticks – filled with an intense raspberry filling and mini chocolate chips. Personally, it was the best Drumstick I have ever had. Others opted for the caffeine in a can, Nescafe Xpress Iced coffee. Yummy!
We also had one of our best meal so far at a small, roadside restaurant for our lunch today. A tasty salad dressed with local olive oil and pomegranate vinegar was followed with lamb or chicken kebabs, spicy meatball kebabs or the Turkish version of pizza. The dessert was interesting – some type of lemon and saffron pudding made with seminola (like couscous).
So, a little more about our day. We travelled from Canakkle this morning, on a 3 ½ hour drive to Pergamum to see the ancient Acropolis. What a beautiful, scenic drive. We had the Aegean Sea on the right and acres and acres of olive trees, seemingly growing wild. I thought Spain had the market on olive trees but Turkey could rival them. Arriving at the base of the Acropolis (meaning upper city) gave us a small picture of what was in store – a cable car ride to the top. This came as a surprise to some but the group rallied to make sure everyone, including those that don’t like cable cars, got to the top. Oh, how it was worth it. This ancient ruin dates back to 300 B.C. and had ties to Alexandra the Great. Most of the was discovered by a German in the 18th century. When he uncovered the Altar of Zeus’s he promptly moved most of the structure to a museum in Berlin. In place of the ruins he planted a tree – hardly a fair trade.
The amphitheatre at this Acropolis is the steepest of all amphitheatres in Greece. Holy s$%t is it steep!!!!! Built in the 3rd century B.C. it has 80 rows of seats and accommodated 10,000 people. After climbing down an ancient tunnel you arrive at the top of the theater and look down, and down, and down. There IS NO Some of the group climbed to the very bottom of the theater and then back up again. Check out the photos.
From the Acropolis we travelled down the road to one of the seven ancient churches of the Book of Revelations, Serapis also known as the Red Basillica. All of these seven churches are still standing and, according to the Book of Revelations, they will remain standing until Judgement Day. All seven churches are located in this area of Turkey.
We are currently on the bus travelling to Kusadasi, our overnight stop. Tomorrow it is on to Ephesus and more history lessons.
I would like to share some interesting information on the growth of tourism in Turkey. While we have ran into many tour groups I am sure that in the summer all sites must be overflowing with tourists. Just 20 years ago there were only 50,000 tourists from around the world that visited Turkey. Should a Canadian couple be interested in visiting, say, Cappadocia the mayor of the city would make an announcement that 2 visitors were coming to tour. He would ask for a volunteer to ‘host’ the visitors in their own home. In a short 20 years and through a strong marketing plans and plan for growth, tourism has become a huge part of the Turkey economy, now welcoming over 18 million visitors!
And for the last tidbit today – the best sales line of the day and the reason we all paid more for our Pashmina scarves, “But lady I can’t give you the same deal I gave that nice young girl. Because I sold one to her for 16 Turkish Lira I have to charge you 25 Turkish Lira. I need to make some money. I didn’t make any money off of her today so you have to pay me 25 so I can make some money.” Thanks a lot Amber – we are glad you got a deal though! And it is a beautiful scarf. Oh well, there is always the Grand Bazaar!
Thanks for your comments – we hope you are enjoying hearing about our trip.