Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Our first day in Turkey

Three thirty in the morning arrived too early, especially when there were people partying all night. However, we survived and had a very pleasant flight on Turkish airlines to Istanbul, where we had a really good breakfast of a turkey sandwich, a hot egg and cheese dish accompanied by spinach and onion, a warm bun, some lovely cheese and almond cake. I couldn't eat all of it but what I did have was very good. So airlines can serve good food in a  pleasant way with no charge. Somehow we have forgotten those days. On our continuing flight to Kayseri, which took an hour, we were served a turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato and pickle on a whole grain bun, eggplant salad and banana chocolate mousse on a  flight that took only an hour. No wonder Turkish air has been voted the best airline in Europe.

We then boarded a bus and travelled across country passing through wonderful rock formations in Urgup, which dates back to Byzantine times. As we kept travelling we passed fields being tilled by horses and families weeding their olive groves. This area of Anatolia produces sugar beets, cereal crops, grapes, apricots, chickpeas and vegetable oils. The landscape alternated between these agricultural fields and spectacularly eroded tuff, hardened volcanic ash. Mount Erciyes, an extinct volcano, looms over the area. Today it was quite beautiful with the sun shining, and the still snow covered mountains visible in the distance.

We passed lots of abandoned old stone houses right next door to architecturally drab concrete block homes, all with lots of satellite dishes sprouting from rooftops and balconies. In fact most of the homes were of recent vintage. Although there are lots of crops growing, huge swathes of land are being open-pit mined for sand leaving a real blight on the landscape.

At last we reached our hotel in Nevsehir happy to drop our bags and go for a walk through the outdoor market. There were lots of stalls with silk rugs, scarves, pashminas, clothing and other knick knacks. We stocked up on almonds, hazelnuts and dried apricots but not before having a glass of lovely tart, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. I was intrigued by the man with a hand cranked machine that thinly sliced a potato in a spiral. This was then deep fried and served as potato chips on a skewer. They looked delicious but their flavour remains a mystery so far.

Tonight was a buffet dinner where I had a huge salad before trying several vegetarian dishes such as eggplant, zucchini and pepper in olive oil, mushroom stuffed potatoes, cabbage in a béchamel sauce and apricots sautéed with onions There were local cheeses galore and many desserts. I limited myself to trying a ball of plain cake soaked in honey that was very good.

Back in our room ready to post the blog we found that the hotel has some huge net nanny that blocks blogspot. Very frustrating. At least we weren't alone I found that it also blocks Harvard book stores recommendations of the week. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and our posts will have to wait until we get home.

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