"" Writer's Wanderings: Kusadasi, Turkey

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Kusadasi, Turkey

 There have been frequent stops for us in Kusadasi. Our first stop had us visiting Ephesus which is amazing enough to want to see again. When we went to book the excursion, it was already filled for this day in the city so we booked it for the next time we stop in the second segment of this cruise. The next time in Kusadasi, we had just walked into town and out to see a fort that sits at the end of a walkway which extends into the harbor. This time would be very special though. We were meeting friends for a real Turkish breakfast.

Our friends who also spend their winters in Key Largo spend part of their year in Turkey. They have lived all over the world and traveled much of it and we enjoy swapping stories. When they discovered we were going to be in Kusadasi on our cruise, they insisted we would have to meet and spend some time together. Little did we know that they lived two hours away.

Our meeting place was a hotel that was about twenty minutes walk from our ship. It was out of the traffic and chaos of the pier. We arrived a bit early and settled in at the small cafe that I believe was a part of the hotel. I love Turkish tea and ordered a cup. Bob ordered a cup of coffee and we sat watching the traffic go by and enjoying our beautiful morning as well as our beverages. 

Before long, we spotted our friends and they waved from the car as they pulled over a bit down the street to park. We paid for our tea and coffee (which was only $4.20 USD) and before long we were off to a restaurant in the countryside that they had found for a real Turkish breakfast which was really a Turkish brunch. As they explained, on a Sunday people did not eat before eleven in the morning. 

And that was only the beginning
of the food!

The ride through the countryside was fun. Out of the city the road became a more narrow two lane and wove around hillsides and past what looked like olive orchards and some farmland. We were truly out in the countryside.

The restaurant was about a half hour drive which gave us a little time to start catching up on the time we'd been apart. Suddenly we were there. Just a few spots where cars were parked off the road. We parked and were immediately greeted by the man who owns the restaurant. Now, this was not a building. This was a garden with trellised spots that had tables. It was also part of a farm so we were greeted as well by a rooster and hen. It was the perfect setting though to be able to eat and visit without a lot of people bustling around like in the city.

The owner led us to a spot that was already set for the four of us and not long after we sat down, the food began appearing and appearing and appearing. The table was so full, we ended up with a pan set on another table beside us. Most of what was there, I didn't know the name of and wouldn't remember when I was told but there were all sorts of jams (I loved the fig) and olives and fresh vegetables that included homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers. One dish was a tomato and egg combination. Another pan was fried eggs. Another pan was sliced sausage that was flavorful and just a little spicy. 

But oh, the bread! They set a big basket of it right next to me. It was too hard to resist and I didn't. Between that and the fig jam I was in heaven. Other vegetables were set down that had been grilled and served with a dollop of yogurt. There was so much I'm not sure I even got around to tasting everything.

The Turkish tea is just that. It is grown in Turkey. They brew it in a double pot. The top pot is more like a syrup and then it is diluted with hot water from the lower pot to your liking. It is a good tea. A much different flavor than the usual English breakfast tea.

As our friends explained, breakfast on Sunday was to be enjoyed slowly and with good conversation. We did both and three hours passed without us noticing the time. It is three hours we will cherish the memory of for a long time to come. 

By the time we were through, we had met everyone in the family, the wife, the son and daughter, the sister. It was truly a family affair.

On our way out, we stopped to thank them again for all the food and service and I suddenly noticed the wood fired oven that the bread was being cooked in. Wow. 

The temperature was climbing as we drove back into the city and our friends dropped us off closer to the pier so we didn't have to walk in the heat. They were on their way to the airport about an hour away to pick up a family member who was coming to visit. We said goodbye quickly in the car since the area was heavily trafficked and we walked back to the ship feeling the goodness of a great meal and great friends and an opportunity to see another side of Turkey away from the tourists.

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