Untourist day in Cesme, Turkey

(written by Dave)

Europe, including Turkey, changed their clocks overnight to day-light-savings.  We had no idea that this was coming.  We can’t read Greek or Turkish, so the recent newspapers would have been no use.  Same for the news on TV.  Technology saved the day as our iPhone, connected now to a Turkish network got the new time off the network, before we even woke.  We slept late as a result but were up early by Turkish hotel standards.  By the time we ate and headed for the local market, it was 10:45 and the hotel owner was still sleeping.

The owner had told us about the market but described it as local with few fruit and veggie stands.  We had low expectations and were quite surprised by the number of stands that we found.  There was also no need to worry that the market might wrap up by noon like most of them in Sydney.  At 11:00AM many stalls were just setting up, with fruit and veggie stall holders early in the process of some very artful display set-ups.  The local specialties here are artichokes and olives (and oil).  Everything looked so fresh, particularly the tomatoes and herbs.  We were only sorry that we don’t have a kitchen to cook in.  The market was very local.  We were the only non-Turkish visitors.  We got to practice some of our newly learned Turkish and picked up a few things for lunch on the waterfront.

Many of the stall owners engaged us, mostly with greetings of friendship, asking us where we were from.  When we stopped and talked, conversations almost always morphed into sales pitches for whatever products they had at their stalls.  It was all very friendly and charming.  Pretty much how we imagined a Turkish bazaar would be.

Later we moved out of the market and onto the main street leading towards the waterfront.  Here we found another great Turkish bakery and a shop selling Turkish delight.  The later proved quite fun.  Nancy could not remember eating Turkish delight before so the salesman/cook gave us some samples and a rundown on the flavours.  Mostly he just read the labels, which we could do ourselves.  He was not really sure what things were in English.  It didn’t matter; we came away with a fair number of samples and box to enjoy later.  There are many more flavours than I remembered, but then again, we still have no idea what most of them are.

We gathered our market treasures and found a bench on the waterfront.  We are in shorts today as it really feels like spring is finally here.  We are the only ones in shorts as the Turks still think that it is cold.  We get a lot of strange looks.  Nancy claims that this is partly due to me wearing black ankle socks with my shoes and shorts – I think it’s a good look.  Show up here next year and everyone will be talking about shoes with black socks, and probably emulating it as well.

After lunch we wandered a bit more then made our way back to the hotel.  We hung out in the courtyard with me cleaning the bikes and Nancy researching the route ahead.  The hotel owner was up now and very much enjoying a chin wag.  He hung out with us until his afternoon desk staff showed up.  He had them make us our first cup of cay, or Turkish tea.  It was pretty good – chai according to the staff.

You may have noticed the photo on our Turkey country page (probably not but in case you did…).  The photo is a bunch of “evil eye” bracelets.  Here in Turkey, the evil eye symbol is quite prolific.  The evil eye charm is normally glass, two colours blue, black and white.  It is prominently displayed to ward off evil eye looks.  The evil eye power attributed to certain people capable of inflicting injury or bad luck on others simply by giving them the evil eye look.  So, for safely, we have included our own no-evil eye look on our Turkish country page.  We’ve also included a few samples of the charm in use that we spotted today while wandering today.

We are now thinking of food again and going out searching for something to eat.  While there are a number of tourist things to do here in Cesme, we very much enjoyed the low key non-tourist day that we had.  We saw lots of old rock things in Athens and have another big ancient city to explore a few days down the coast.  So, it was fun today, not to be out searching for more old rocks and just being “almost” local folks.

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3 thoughts on “Untourist day in Cesme, Turkey

  1. The mystery market food is a true mystery since we can’t see the photo! I think you told me to refresh when this happens, but that didn’t help. Otherwise, all the food looks very yummy!

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