Monday, October 17, 2011

Day 145 - Princes' Island

We woke up to a nice Turkish breakfast made by our host, Ahmet. It consisted of breads with olives, cheeses, and tomatoes, and a Turkish egg dish called Menemen, made with eggs, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and peppers. My first Turkish cultural experience was with food, which I can't argue with!

The first stop on my Istanbul/Turkey tour was Princes' Island, which was a 25 minute ferry ride from the Asian coast. We had a good group of CSers - Anto from India, Benny from Germany, Ahmet from Turkey, and me. I had my first Turkish tea on the ferry ride, which is one of the most popular drinks to have in this country. They are served on small tea cups made of thin glass to prevent the tea from cooling too soon.

There are nine islands that consist of "Princes' Island" and we visited the 2nd biggest island - The Island Chalcitis or Halki (Copper) because of the copper mines that used to be located in the southern parts of the island. The island was small and quiet for this time of year, due to the changing seasons, but we were lucky to catch some sunshine on our visit.

There were old, dilapidated wooden houses next to well-kept houses and Victorian Villas, each with its own character. We bought some lunch and took a horse carriage up to the Christos Monastery and had a picnic with a nice view of the sea in the distance. The air was fresh and clean, a stark change from my travels in most of Asia.

Later on at night, Ahmet cooked us all Turkish Manti (small meat ravioli with yogurt and a mix of spices) while we tried some of the local beers and spirits - raki, which is an anise-flavored drink similar to absinthe. You mix the raki with water, and it turns a cloudy white. The food was excellent, but I usually don't like licorice-flavored things, so the raki wasn't a favorite. Again, so much good food!

Ferry ride to Princes' Islands

Christos Monastery

There are plenty of stray cats scattered throughout Istanbul. It's funny, because all I saw were stray dogs everywhere in Nepal. 

Turkish Manti (meat ravioli with yogurt and spices)

The Local Turkish Beer

Turkish Tea

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