Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fun Cooking in Turkey!

Yes, I just wrote that! Shocking isn't it?

Me and several of my friend went to a fabulous place called "Cooking Alaturka".  We prepared a authentic Turkish meal, 5 courses in all.  It was amazing!  I can't believe how simple some of the dishes were to prepare.  We actually did everything completely from scratch . . . Here are some photos of the day . . .

The is the owner and most excellent hostess -- Eveline is a gracious teacher and wonderfully personable.  She is showing us how to prepare the beans for our dish -- 

This is my friend Cheryl -- she is pregnant with her first child -- he will be here the end of July!

Charlotte and Joan doing the onions and garlics -- New really great tips and wonderful knives!  

Yes, this is evidence that I was actually there!  Charlotte stirring, Eveline is speaking and Joy is watching the chief put together the syrup for the fig desert.  (Which was my favorite thing!)

Joan is just taking in all the culture she came for -- She is still jet-lagging -- it is a lot to take in!

Eveline plating  the figs -- we used a sharp knife and hollowed out the center and put walnuts inside.    This is actually the best way I have ever had figs!

The final plate -- figs stuffed with walnuts in syrup!  Yum!

I am very excited to get to go back for this wonderful experience -- again!  I recommend this as a "Must Do" if you come to Istanbul,  this is a fantastic opportunity for ". . . Ottoman classics, regional specialities and home-cooking favorites . . . " You will not be disappointed!  

Thanks my friends for coming by . . . hope to hear fro you.  Love, Love!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Smyrna -

This city ruin is actually in three places.  We were so discouraged the first day when we went to "Smyrna" according to directions to the rental car guy.  Our GPS took us right there.   This what we
found the columns or pillars of the agora (what I am understanding, is the financial and business trade area of these ancient cities.)  It was in the center of a neighborhood and on the backside of a park;  fenced in and locked up tight, we were disappointed that we couldn't approach.  That evening Terry contacted a preacher friend of ours who has done extensive research on this -- he told him that we were actually at "Old Smyrna".  this was the location before Alexander the Great moved the city to a more strategic site on the other side of the bay.

Feeling somewhat relieved, we went back to Izmir the next day in search of the "New Smyrna" -- what we found was very interesting.  The top of the hill, looking into the bay were walls and cisterns built to fortify and sustain this city.   I can't imagine how they built these fortresses with out the use of heavy machinery and cranes.  Thinking the whole time that Alexander the Great had walked these walls, looked at the bay and lived here, right here (for a time), was really cool!

The view from the wall was beautiful.  Standing  on top of the wall was amazing (for you who know me, this was a personal achievement).  You can see the agora for this city -- in ruins -- near the big parking garage in the Center left of this photograph.  It's a pretty long way down there, so that tells us that was a pretty large city.

The locals present at the site were interesting as well.  You see their homes where right up next to this history.  The first, an old lady who I thought represented the "older" generation of Turkey very well.  I asked if I could take her picture and was prepared to tip her, but she refused.  That doesn't happen very often.

The second was the lady looking out onto the city after hanging her laundry on the roof of her home.  I wouldn't have liked standing there much less having to cart my wet clothes to the roof.  I watched her descend with grace and confidence down a narrow stairway -- no rail or wall to old onto.

Then of course we have the pazaar at the end of the street.  Right inside the wall.  Everything from carpets to bracelets and we got some of each.

What started off as a disappointment turned into something special -- I will have some pics of the agora tomorrow --

Thanks for stopping by --

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sorry I have been gone so long!

We have had a very busy and somewhat troublesome couple of months.  However, I am back in Istanbul, settling into a new adventure.  Actually, it's the same one, just a different phase.

We have just returned from a trip viewing the Seven Churches of Revelation (Asia) -- I hope to have a chance to edit photos and get them posted.  Here is a sneak peak -- this is Hierapolis (?) -- We are pretty darn sure that Paul and Philip walked this street -- SO COOL!

Today, I have a friend here from America.  We are going to take a Bosporus Cruise this afternoon.  This city changes everyday and that makes me excited to get going.

Thank you my friends -- Love Love!