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25, photography lover, messy writer, philologist, passionate cook, avid traveller.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Another breakfast story

I have never been a breakfast person. Back in Colombia, until the early age of seventeen (ish), FRUIT was mandatory, eggs were only for weekends and most kinds (if not any) of savoury products were off the list. 
(Ok, maybe not all of them... Who can say no to a lovely piece of cheesy toast, or a typical sausage-and-scrambled-egg kinda breakfast?)

At least I can’t. Hardly.

However, things changed, and when I went to France, I was definitely allowed to say that savoury products were off the list. All of them. For a typical French, having eggs for breakfast can be as unreal as having... Cereal for dinner (mmm...). And when it comes to breakfast, they can stand proud of their cuisine and tell anyone croissant and pain au chocolat, accompanied by a good cup of coffee (or orange juice, for that matter) can be as good as it gets.

But that's because they haven't lived in Turkey.

The first Turkish breakfast I had was two days after I stepped foot in Antalya. Everything seemed normal on the table, until I saw cucumbers and tomatoes, finely chopped, peacefully lying on the table, sprinkled wih sea salt and a few drops of lemon. And, a bit further, black and green olives. Breakfast, anyone?
Yeah, every breakfast has its magic, and the Turkish one is far from being behind. Found everywhere around town, a traditional kahvaltı has bread (all kinds of, my favourite so far being açma or plain white bread), olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, cheese (feta-style, Beyaz, or a more sober-ish one, Kaşar), eggs (yumurta), sucuk (a sausage made out of garlic and spices. A must. Forget about diet), butter, jam, figs and honey.

And finally, tea. Lots, lots, loooots of tea. Because we all love tea 'round here.


Number 1: Discovering the morning side of tomato and cucumber.
 Number 2:  Jaaaaam all the way!

Number 3: First homemade Turkish breakfast. *proud*

Even if it takes a bit of time to get used to it (tomatoes and cucumber are a part of my daily, uhm, dinner salad), Turkish breakfast is simply delicious. Along with its different versions and its many additions (Baslama, a “pizza-shaped” homemade bread filled with cheese, or gözleme, a savoury dough pastry filled with feta cheese and parsley), it is a great way of getting up on a lazy weekend, having delicious food and starting the day with your energy over the moon. It is also the best time to share a moment with your loved ones; breakfast is traditionally served in a big table, a yer sofrasi, where guests can gather around and enjoy a convivial moment.

Obviously, as every beautiful sin, it can’t always be eaten during the week (whyyyy?). But not to worry, weekdays’ breakfast can also be fun. The school cafeteria, as well as every single bakery in town has a greatgreatgrand variety of bread (poğaça, açma, simit), along with a bunch of stuff you can only find in Turkey, such as börek (a meat, cheese or vegetable-filled pastry) and its variants (su böreği, sigara böreği), and others I'm sure I haven’t discovered yet.

And çay.

So, traditional breakfast comes as an addition to my endless list of “Reasons-of-looking-forward-to-the-weekend”. But in the meantime, having to work every day and going through a massive sleeping strike, I can get happy with this:

Number 4: My fave.

Afiyet olsun :)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Through the eyes of a yabancı: Bursa

Once upon a time, in Turkey...

Last Friday, I found myself at the Antalya bus station (Otogar, and may any French read it out loud!) at 6 in the morning. It was the last weekend off before D-day, and so I decided to spend it visiting another part of the country. After 9 hours of endless breath-taking landscapes, rivers bathed with the morning sunlight, and a few stops at local towns full of coffee shops and Poğaça (yep, beauts) sellers, I reached my final destination.


Yeşil Bursa.

The bus station was crowded, with buses coming from all over the country and passengers running from one side to another. However, despite the huge amount of cars, yellow buses, taxis and even bikes, I could smell the fresh air and feel the temperature change (Boiling much, Antalya?). I was welcomed by a huge blue sky, a fresh summer breeze and a portrait of Atatürk. And, although I only spent two days, I created a particularly special link with this city, mainly because it reminded me (still does, always will!) of my hometown, Bogotá.

Being the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and the fourth largest city in Turkey, Bursa had a lot to offer me. From its magnificent views, its majestic mountains, hidden spots, beautifully built mosques and way more, we tried to see the most of it.

Of course, two days will never be enough.

So, if I had to sum up my weekend (and try to contain my excitement when writing about it), I would start with the little trip by teleferik to the top of the Great Mountain (Uludağ), where landscapes are just... Gah. Home to several chalets and ski resorts, major attraction during winter time, Uludağ is the best medicine against any kind of urban madness and a beautiful change of scene (dépaysement, anyone?). We then set out on our way down, to take a walk along the city centre and beyond, having candied chestnut, goat milk ice cream and tons of çay in the process. Best way to have fun. Period.

I would definitely go back to Saklı Bahçe (Hidden Garden), a cozy little lookout, where cussions were disposed on the grass, around tables for drinks and food, and rabbits were running around. Perfect place for a hot coffee, dessert and a good chat.  

I even got to go to a Turkish wedding. And an engagement party.

Turkish wedding cake. They should ban dessert in this country.

Breakfast (Turkish bread... *sigh*)

Teleferik. 'We created our own heaven.'

Maraş Usulü Dondurma (goat milk ice cream). Can someone explain why these don't exist anywhere else?!

A closer look at the Ulucamii (Great Mosque)

Bursa <3

'Going back home' is not... close enough to describe what I felt when crossing the country. Whilst sitting on the bus, I felt like traveling back in time to my greatest memories, driving through the Colombian Andes on a sunny holiday. Going up the mountain reminded me of my city's magnificent view, along with its beautiful places and warm-hearted people, just like Turkish people.

I'm glad I had a first. And it certainly won't be the last.