Australia Day Celebration

G’Day Mates.. as this email is in celebration of Australia Day 2013.

“G’Day mate is probably the most widely known Australian term and is used when greeting your friend (cobber) or mate. … We all have ways to describe and comment on things we see or hear. Below are a few that you’re likely to hear in the land down under…

Holy dooley!: an exclamation of surprise = "Good heavens!", "My goodness!"

Give it a burl: try it, have a go

Good onya: good for you, well done

Grouse (adj.): great, terrific, very good

Rip snorter or ripper: great, fantastic

She’ll be right: it’ll turn out okay

Spiffy, pretty spiffy: great, excellent

    You may be feeling a bit ‘gobsmacked’ (surprised or astounded) with all of this Aussie slang but it’s ‘fair dinkum’ (true, genuine). Australians can ‘yabber’ (talk a lot) so listen out for these sayings and it won’t be long before some of them creep into your vocabulary. Go on, give it a burl!”

http://www.topuniversities.com/country-guides/australia/g-day-mate-guide-australian-language

Though the get-together at Sailor’s Point was to celebrate Australia Day, one of the best parts was meeting the Turkish folks who are studying English with Cindy.  Cindy is American.  It’s her husband Peter who is Australian.  They thought it would be a fun way for their Turkish friends to learn about Australian culture.  A few of us Americans had a bit to learn also.  At least I did.  Did you know the dessert named Pavlova was created in Australia?  And what’s Damper bread or an ANZAC biscuit.  Read on.

Ru

DoraMac

www.mydoramac.com

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Australia “Night” at Sailor’s Point

A slightly irreverent explanation :  “Australia Day is more than just a public holiday. Whether you’re in the city, on the coast or in a regional area, there are thousands of events that celebrate everything that’s great about being Australian. The great thing about Australia Day is that it’s your day to do what you please, whether you’re into the local thong throwing contests, welcoming new citizens into our country or lazing about listening to some of Australia’s best musical talent.”  http://www.australiaday.com.au/

And an even more irreverent description of Australia Day from the Huffington Post….

    “Australia Day is a fun house mirror version of July 4. Instead of celebrating their independence from Britain, Aussies raise a pint to the arrival of the conquering Limies at Sydney Cove in 1788. Rather than wrapping their national day in patriotism and touting its historical significance, most Australians just go to concerts and enjoy the January sunshine.”   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/25/australia-day-10-great-things_n_2545754.html

Randal was in Australia during his World Bicycle Tour of 2000, but I’ve never been there; so what I know about Australia would fit inside a teaspoon packet of Vegemite.    Pretty much anything I do know has come from  movies , TV, and one or two books.   And, except for Jill Kerr Conway’s memoirs; when I watched/read those movies, TV,and books, I wasn’t even trying to learn anything about Australia.   I can recommend everything on the list below except for the movie Australia which I thought was terrible.  Of course I was watching a pirated copy that was shot so poorly you could hardly see it.  Serves me right for buying it! 

Books:

Road From Coorain A Woman’s Education True North  all  by Jill Kerr Conway

Thorn Birds  by Colleen McCullough

Movies and TV:

Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Australia

The Castle *

Dunera Boys

Gallipoli

Kenny *

Muriel’s Wedding

Proof

Rabbit Proof Fence

Ten Canoes *

Thorn Birds

A Town Like Alice

*   These movies are quirky but worth watching

What I am learning about Australia really comes from meeting Australians as we’ve been cruising.  And what’s more important about a country than its people?   I think ultimately how we judge a country is by what we know (or think we know) about its people. 

How could you not like a country with people like this?

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Front Row: Bill  Joan  Zehra  Kevin Mai;  Back Row  Peter  Atilla and Alex

May, Kevin, Peter, Atilla and Alex were all born in Australia.  As a matter of fact, Atilla was the first baby of Turkish descent  born in 1969 in Australia.   Zehra lived and worked there for many years.  Bill and Joan get to be in the photo because the spent all the time it takes to make the famous Australian  Lamington Cake.

 

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Lamington or Lemmington  Cake

 

The word lamington means layers of beaten gold. An Australian dessert of little cubes or squares of sponge cake, dipped in chocolate, then rolled in coconut. In Victoria (State of Australia) they often add a layer of raspberry or plum jam.  They are served with tea in the afternoon. Lamington’s are so popular in Australia that the cakes are a favorite means of raising money for school groups, churches, and scouts and girl guides.  These money making adventure are called Lamington Drives.

     The cake is named after Charles Wallace Baillie, Lord Lamington, the governor of Queensland from 1895 to 1901. Lord Lamington was known for wearing a homburg hat that looked like the cakes. For many years lamingtons were served on state ceremonial occasions in Queensland.   But Baron Lamington himself could by no means abide them.  He invariably referred to them as “those bloody poofy woolly biscuits.”  Another source recounts the slightly less dramatic circumstance of the baron’s cook concocting the dessert as a way to use up stale or slightly burnt sponge cake.

According to Jackie French in her article titled Another History of Lamington, February 21, 2008:

    It appeared that lamingtons were invented in Brisbane around the early 1900s, probably by Amy Shauer who taught cooking at Brisbane central Technical College from 1895 to 1937. She also wrote three very popular cook books, and developed cookery courses for schools and colleges across Queensland, and was a famous cake maker and cake judge at Shows.

    It’s likely the first lamingtons were invented in Amy Shauer’s cooking class and named after Lady Lamington, who was the school’s patroness and extremely interested in education for girls. (One elderly correspondent, who remembered those days well, informed me that Lord Lamington was a pompous ass, and that no one would ever have named a cake after him. But Lady Lamington was much loved.)

     Before 1910, Australian cookbooks describe the Lamington as a whole cake iced in chocolate and coconut. Bite-sized lamingtons didn’t appear in cookbooks until a few years later, giving more impetus to the Lady Lamington story over the Lord Lamington one.

According to Janet Clarkson and her blog The Old Foodie:

    One possibility is that the lamington is named after a locality, and there are three contenders: Lamington village (in Scotland), Leamington Spa (Warwickshire), and Lemmington (Northumberland). There are recipes for Leamington cake and puddings in some late Victorian cookbooks which are layered jam sponge-cake type mixtures, so the lamington could have developed from these. I hope this does not turn out to be the case, as it would be a very boring explanation.

In Australian, July 21st was designated as National Lamington Day, and now it is celebrated mainly by charity groups to sell lamingtons to raise money. The Scots and the New Zealanders also claim credit. The Scots say it was a sheep shearer’s wife in the village of Lamington who made the cake for a group of traveling sheep shearers.   New Zealanders enjoy lamingtons just as much as the Australians. They refer to the cake as leamington or lemmington, which are names of towns.

http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/Lamington.htm

Recipe for Lamington’s Cake…..

“There’s no cake more Australian than the lamington, so celebrate Australia Day (or any day) with this delicious treat, a staple of all good fetes and fundraisers. “   Australian Women’s Weekly http://aww.ninemsn.com/food/8407334/classic-lamingtons

INGREDIENTS

4 eggs

2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar

1 cup (150g) self-raising flour

1/4 cup (35g) cornflour

25g soft butter, chopped

1/3 cup (80ml) boiling water

3 cups (270g) desiccated coconut

CHOCOLATE ICING

4 2/3 cups (750g) icing sugar mixture

1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder

20g soft butter

3/4 cup (180ml) milk

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan, line base with baking paper.

2. Beat the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light in colour. Gradually add the sugar; beat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick. Mixture should form thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted.

3. Meanwhile, sift the flour and cornflour together three times. Combine butter and boiling water in a small heatproof bowl.

4. Transfer the egg mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture; using a balloon whisk or a large metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the egg mixture, then fold in the butter mixture.

5. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes or until sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre and comes away from side of pan. Turn cake onto a wire rack to cool.

6. Cut cake into 20 even pieces.

7. CHOCOLATE ICING: Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl; add the butter and milk; stir over a medium saucepan of simmering water until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Divide icing mixture into 2 small bowls.

8. Place coconut in a shallow bowl.

9. Using a large fork, dip each piece of cake briefly into icing until cake is coated in icing. Hold over bowl to drain off any excess. Dip half the cake pieces in one bowl of icing and the other half in the second bowl of icing. (We have separated the icing into two bowls, as cake crumbs will thicken the icing and make it difficult to use.) If the icing becomes too thick, stand it over hot water while dipping, or reheat gently with a little more milk. If necessary, strain the icing into a clean bowl.

10. Toss cake gently in coconut. Transfer cake to a wire rack; stand until set.

Suitable to freeze. Chocolate icing suitable to microwave.

Note: The cake is easier to handle if it is made a day ahead or refrigerated for several hours. A sponge or a butter cake can be used for lamingtons. Lamingtons can also be split and filled with jam and cream, but this will make it a little more difficult to coat with the icing.

And  then there’s the Pavlova…

 

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Pavlova

When the Russian ballerina Pavlova performed in Australia this dish was created for her and it became a favorite…or so Australians tell it.  There it’s called a Pav.  Mai made theses mini “Pav” and they were yummy!  Mai made the Pavlova and she told me the story.  Peter confirmed it so I didn’t even Google it because both Mai and Peter are Australian, so who is Google to argue.

 

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Damper Bread                                                     ANZAC Biscuit  (cookie)  4 O’clock on the plate

 

Damper Bread 

“Damper is traditionally a simple Australian unleavened bread baked in the hot coals of a campfire. The dough was wrapped around a stick and cooked or put into an iron pot and buried in the hot coals.

The bread is called damper because the fire is damped to allow the bread to be cooked over the ash covered hot coals.

During colonial times it was a staple food in the bush because the dry ingredients could be easily carried and they only needed to add water to make the damper.  The original version had no sugar or butter and used water instead of milk so it was great on trips

Damper Recipe

Australian Damper

Modern version to bake in the oven or try on a campout.

   Ingredients

2 cups self-rising flour

½ tsp salt

1-1½  cups milk

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp butter

extra flour as needed

   Method

1.Mix the flour, salt and sugar together into a bowl.

2.Cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

3.Add milk slowly and mix to form a soft dough.

4.Knead lightly on a floured board until smooth.

5.Shape into a round loaf, brush with milk and cut a cross in the top surface of the dough.

  . . .  For oven cooking

6.Grease and dust with flour a round cake tin. You can substitute a flat baking pan, but the round tin gives a better shape to the loaf.

7.Place dough in the pan and bake at 190° C (375° F)

for 30 – 40 minutes.

. . .  For campfire cooking

6.Grease the camp oven (Dutch oven) and dust with flour

7.Add bread dough and cover.

8.Place in your campfire, cover with hot ashes and coals and bake for about 30 minutes.

Note: to test if it’s done, tap on the loaf and it should sound hollow. Cut into moderately thick slices and serve while still warm. Top with butter, golden syrup, or your favourite jam.

Just for fun: A quick and easy method the drovers in the outback used to make damper is to wrap the dough around a stick to toast it over the coals. Fill the hole where the stick was with butter, golden syrup or jam.  http://alldownunder.com/oz-u/food-recipes/damper.htm

ANZAC Biscuits  http://www.anzacday.org.au/history/ww1/anecdotes/bikkies.html

The acronym ANZAC was coined in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand troops were training in Egypt. The word ANZAC was eventually applied to all Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War 1. The term is particularly associated with the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

ANZAC Day was inaugurated on 25 April 1916 to commemorate the first anniversary of the landing of the ANZAC troops at Gallipoli.

During World War 1 and World War 2, Australians were fiercely patriotic. This can best be described in the words, my country – right or wrong. The wives, mothers and girlfriends were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometres per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer – a biscuit with all the nutritional values possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats which were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.

As the war drew on, many groups like the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church committees, schools and other women’s organisations devoted a great deal of time to the making of ANZAC biscuits. To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins such as Billy Tea tins. You can see some of these tins appearing in your supermarket as exact replicas of the ones of earlier years. Look around. The tins were airtight, thus no moisture in the atmosphere was able to soak into the biscuits and make them soft.

During World War 2, with refrigeration in so many merchant navy ships, the biscuits were not made to any great extent as it was now possible to send a greater variety of food such as fruit cake.

ANZAC biscuits are still made today. They can also be purchased from supermarkets and specialty biscuit shops. Around ANZAC Day, these biscuits are also often used by veterans’ organisations to raise funds for the care and welfare of aged war veterans.

    Compiled from information supplied by the CWA, Brisbane, the War Widows Guild, Brisbane and Queensland State Headquarters of the RSL

A Favourite Recipe:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup plain flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 (three-quarters) cup coconut

125g (4 oz) butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

½ (half) teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut.

Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.

Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dry ingredients.

Take teaspoonfuls of mixture and place on lightly greased oven trays; allow room for spreading.

Cook in slow oven (150°C or 300°F) for 20 minutes.

Loosen while still warm, then cool on trays.

Makes about 35.

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And then there’s Vegemite! Mine, Deniz,  Ruṣen and Peter

Peter’s wife Cindy teaches English and these three Turkish folks  are some of her students who came to experience Australian culture.  They didn’t hate it…….

  “Vegemite is uniquely Australian and a fair dinkum Aussie icon with 90 percent of Aussies having a jar in their pantry. Vegemite is a nutritious product, one of the richest sources known of Vitamin B.

     One of the most popular ways to eat Vegemite is to toast some bread, butter it and then spread on the Vegemite. If an Aussie is being honest with you, they’ll admit that it’s an acquired taste. With Vegemite, you either love it or can’t stand it. Our experience has been that if you’re raised eating it when you’re very young, you generally like it as an adult.   We don’t know of anyone who ate it for the first time as an adult and liked it. In fact, when we’ve tried to get people visiting Australia to try it, they can’t get past the strong smell to try it. An American friend once told us that Vegemite looked and smelled like dried soup mix that comes in packets. With that image, I can understand why we couldn’t get her to try it. In any case, we love it! http://alldownunder.com/australian-food/vegemite.htm  has lots more info about the history of Vegemite…..

  It even has its own song…. 

We are happy little Vegemites, as bright as bright can be,

We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea,

Our mummy says we’re growing stronger every single week,

Because we love our Vegemite, we all adore our Vegemite —

It puts a rose in every cheek!

We’re growing stronger every week!  

http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/happy-little-vegemites.htm

Just like the American  4th of July, besides food there’s speeches.  We had ours in 2 languages…..Australian and Turkish.

 

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Zehar translates for the Turkish speakers.  On a somewhat more serious note Peter explained the special relationship  Australia has with Turkey based on their shared tragic history of Gallipoli. 

 

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Atilla laughed as Zehra revealed that he’d been the  first Turkish-Australian baby born in Turkey in 1969…..which made him one of the youngest people in the room!

 
 

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“You big people listen…I’m more interested in this food.” 

 

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Ḡὒtὒ  Volkan and Ercan   I apologize for misspelling anyone’s name.

Both are doctors here in Marmaris.  Ḡὒtὒ told me she had moved to Marmaris from Istanbul for work.  That is a huge change; like moving to Roanoke, VA from New York City…

 

After the speeches it was Time For Food!  

 

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I made the tiny sandwich; pumpernickel “brot” filled with a spread made of softened cream cheese,  grated hard cheeses, grated apple and grated onion.   They weren’t a big hit.  Actually lots of folks thought it was some kind of pressed chocolate cake filled with something white.  But like bikers, cruisers will eat pretty much anything so more than half were gone by the time Randal and I said good-night and I just left the rest to get eaten, taken or tossed.   Maybe I should have added some Vegemite! 

 

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Cindy’s English Language students:

Mine,  Ruṣen, Cindy,  Deniz, Toros, and Ayṣegὒl  (Again I apologize for any misspelled names.)

 

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Peter, Jane, Collin, Kevin

Jane is just the best story teller.  Ask her about the naughty duck!

 

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Lee  and Joanne

 

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Randal, Gwen, Joan and Bill

Joan’s family owned a circus in South Africa and Joan roller-skated on a skinny board in what was similar to a high wire act!  At her next birthday she’ll be 90!!!!

 

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The “Netsels!”    Mary, Mai, and Zehra

 

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Cindy

 

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“Turkish Ladies”

 

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Monday

Merhaba,

       “Monday Monday, so good to me,

       Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be”….EXCEPT that it started out with a big loss for the New England Patriots.  Sorry Bruce!!!  Other than THAT it was a very nice day.

Ru

It’s been a busy morning; pretty typical for Monday.  As it’s winter and the sun rises later, so do Randal and I.  But today I wanted to get a laundry washed and hung before the 9 am morning NET and 10 o’clock Turkish class, so I was up by 7 am ish.  I did have to wait a bit to see if the weather was going to be “laundry worthy” before I actually started the machine. 

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Sometimes right and sometimes wrong…I usually use the “look out the window forecast.”

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The wind was blowing the clouds away and accuweather said there was to be sun, so I took a chance and did a load of laundry.

 

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Neighbors off our bow.  You can see how close the Migros grocery store is which makes running out for a few things very easy.

 

10 am cruisers who want meet at Sailor’s Point for a weekly Turkish lesson. 

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Zehra, our Turkish Language Teacher

Çὂk Gὒrὒltὒsὒ ve Ṣimṣek = Thunder and Lightening.  Choke Gewereweltewesewe  veh shimshek is how it sounds.  We learned that an lots of other weather terms.  We learned how to put words together into statements and then how to change the statement to a question.  We worked hard!

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Rick, Mary, Joanne, Dale and Diana and Zehra Hanim  which is like saying Ms Zehra because last names aren’t used so much.

 

After class I took our recyclables  to recycle.   Anyone studying  “garbology” would wonder about the lifestyle of cruisers.

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                     Plastic                                                         Metal                                            Paper

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This is actually an underexaggeration!   While most bins often have very little,  the Glass bin is usually  full to the brim.  The two bottles of beyzade are actually ours!

 

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Our friend Deena received a guitar for Christmas.  Monday afternoons she comes for a lesson from Randal.  I can hear her improving!

 

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While I was at Turkish lessons, Randal was making apple pie…with corn syrup!  It tastes great.  By late afternoon this is all that’s left.  Deena’s husband’s uncle and a friend of the uncle were coming for dinner and a visit so we sent four big pieces home with Deena.  And then Kevin and Mai came by so they had to have some.  So thank goodness most of it’s gone.  My sweet intake is sky rocketing lately so the more pie we can “share,” the better.  Anyone have any great recipes that call for corn syrup..other than pecan pie?    That is our well-worn Betty Crocker Cookbook offering suggestions about apple pie.  I say suggestions because Randal creates his own as he goes…like using cup of corn syrup along with the colled for cup of sugar.  Just to absolutely make sure there’s enough “sweet” along with the apples.

 

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Split, toasted simit with melted mozzarella cheese…and wine..the perfect dinner..  with salad.

I’ve become addicted to simit and if there’s one on the boat, I’m gonna eat it.  At least if I have it for my meal I can justify it to myself.  The sesame seeds give it such great flavor and they’re much crispier than a bagel because they’re skinnier. 

 

Tonight I’ll relax with a Hetti Wainthropp Investigates that my sister downloads into my dropbox.  I am reading more these days, but it’s nice to watch a bit of tv and knit a few more rows of the vest I’m making.  All those knitters at Wednesday Group inspired me.

Learning the ropes from Swedish Sune

Merhaba,

  Rain was forecasted for today, but, other than some late morning sprinkles, we’ve had mostly sun.  And calm after last night’s wind!  I even snuck in a load of laundry that seems to be drying even with the sprinkles and the afternoon bits of clouds.  I chanced the laundry today because the next several days also forecast rain.  I tend to go with the weather report I get from looking out the window in the morning.  Because it’s Thursday market day, our morning walk was to the market.  We needed vegetables and some cheese, and as I’m now officially addicted to them, some simit.  I bought some mozzarella looking cheese which goes great with toasted simit.  I slice the simit, toast it, put the cheese on and then give it a zap in the microwave.  Yummmm.  I have to restrain myself and only eat one simit at a time.  Between the simit, cheese and wine it’s pretty easy to chub up here if one isn’t careful.  Of course the culprit might be the wafer cookies I’m also liking at the moment.  Somehow a snack of fruit seems less appealing in “cold” weather but cookies and tea are great!  I need another one of those 2 hour, over the mountain hikes.

Ru

      Yesterday at Wednesday Art Group Kerstin’s husband Sune came to teach rope work.  I was determined to practice some of the skills I’d learned watching a watercolor video so I stuck to my paints.  But I did take some photos and Mary, who was learning the skill, also took some photos.  I did learn a teeny tiny bit about watercolor, but next time he teaches rope works I might just give it a whirl.  Everyone made it looks so much fun. And Sune was the most patient of teachers.

If you would like to give it a try, this website and instructions looks not too bad.  But it’s way easier to learn with an expert there to help!

http://www.igkt.net/beginners/ocean-plait.php


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Kerstin and Sune

Kerstin can knit about anything using a rainbow of colors that makes you smile.  Sune creates wonderful  and useful things from rope.  Both are what teachers should be; excited about their craft and wanting to share their knowledge and skills.  Both have tons of patience!   Kerstin leads the Wednesday Craft/Art Group and Sune teaches rope work at both marinas for kids and adults.

 

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Samples of Sune’s rope work.

He makes them in all sizes using different weight rope depending on the purpose of the finished product.  Some are good for coasters or hot plates.  Other large ones are sturdy enough for floor mats.

 

The photos  show the intensity of concentration as everyone worked on her/his project.

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It all starts like this… Sue K, Mary and Sue M watch as Sune explains.

 

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Lee came to learn the ropes: Zehra came to lend moral support.

 

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Right over left… then make a knot….

 

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Sune showing what to do and then helping Mary

 

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Lee, Sue, Victoria and Becky working their ropes.

 

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This rope looks like it’s trying to run away……but then, like magic, it’s where it’s supposed to be.

 

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Such intense concentration!

 

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The Devil won’t find any idle hands at this workshop!  Sue’s blue and white rope is almost finished.

 

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Sune helping Victoria                                                               Becky working on her ropes.

 

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Mary and Sue proving that the hand is quicker than the eye, at least the camera eye.

 

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Kerstin raises the blinds so a passing fellow could get a better look.  Sue M’s project is the light colored one at the left end of the table.  Sue K managed to make 2 using blue and white rope.  Lee works to finish his. 

 

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Kerstin is rescuing Mary’s first ever sweater project…a close up of her colorful fingerless cloves.

Thanks to Kerstin’s help Mary had such success with her purple hat and scarf that she decided to try a sweater.  But something about decreasing for the neck had gone awry.  While Mary learned to do the ropes from Sune, Kerstin was able to save the knitting project. 

 

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Turkish women in a tent…version 5…or whatever

For me it’s still “one step forward,  2 steps back.  But I am learning.

 

After Wedensday Group Randal and I walked to town for lunch at Aciktim and to do some chores.

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Across from the marina, the less protected town wharf was feeling the wind and waves.  Wednesday night we had gusts up to 40 knots so thankfully we were in the marina with its protective walls.

 

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Just around the corner from Aciktim we saw this motorbike covered with cats!

 

Wednesday was cat photo day….there were several in the marine paint shop we visited.

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Lots of cats live in the paint shops near the marina…you have to look twice to pick the cats out of the paint supplies.  All of the cats seem healthy and cared for from the multiple feeding stations around the marina and town.  I stop and spend several minutes each day with different marina cats petting them.  They all love it and purr and it’s good for them and me.  To be absolutely honest I have a harder time walking away from the stray dogs….whose photos I’ve  yet to take.  So I guess I need to do that too one day. 

Muḡla part 3 The End

Bright sunny Monday January 14, 2013

Merhaba,

   So this is the last installment of our adventures in Stratonikeia and Muḡla.  I crammed in lots of photos to avoid a part 4.  For those of you concerned about my not having warm clothing, we’re usually okay.  Everyone, no matter how warmly dressed was commenting on how cold they were.  We just didn’t believe that the temperature an hour from Marmaris would be that much colder so didn’t pile on the layers.  I should have worn Randal’s old ski pants over my jeans that I wear when we motorbike in cold weather.  Next time! 

Ru

   This photo is from the calendar in the Helvaci Tashin shop in Muḡla where we bought our lifetime supply of corn syrup.  I do know the days of the week.  I know some numbers, but some I need to count through them all to get to the correct one in my head.  And I know some months.   

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Calendar in the halva shop.

     Today in Turkish lessons we learned the different months and how to say 2013 in Turkish  ikibinonὒҫ

Iki = 2  bin=1,000  on=ten   ὒҫ=3      on dὂrt  Ocak  ikibinonὒҫ = 14 January 2013.  You can see from the calendar we visited the halva shop in Muḡla sekiz Ocak ikibinonὒҫ  8 January 2013.  Got that?

 

We left the halva shop on our way to the Hacıkadı Evi  (House of Hacıkadı)  and passed a restaurant where the chairs were upholstered with material printed to look like maps which totally caught my attention.

 

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Map chairs

 

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Crocheted or knitted dolls…I can’t tell but liked her quite a bit. 

     Sofra translates to dining table and bὂrek is a pastry filled with cheese, rolled up and then fried.  Sultan means sultan.  Ci added to bὂrek means  the profession of bὂrek maker.   So I’m guessing that the apron says something about the “sultan of borek making” though I don’t know if Sofra is a restaurant or a person and I’ve no clue about 2010 other than related to a year.

 

Clock Tower and the Hacıkadı Evi

   “Not far away, on the same street as the Cultural Centre, you will find the Hacıkadı Evi, an excellent example of local domestic architecture and open to the public. The first mayor of Muğla Hacıkadızade Süleyman Efendi had the house built in the 1870s for his son, Ömer Efendi. It’s a lovely two-storied structure set in a private garden, designed so that it looks more like a bungalow with an overhanging roof rather than the more usual sturdy style of two-storey townhouse.

The heart of the house is a lovely, brightly lit polygonal hall on the first floor with bench seats lined up under the huge windows so that the women of the family could have a constant view of the garden. Bedrooms and other family rooms open off the back of the hall while more utilitarian rooms such as the kitchen were accessed  via steps down from the garden.

Later a small hamam was added to the side of the house, accessible via the servants’ quarters. Today all the rooms have been refitted with typical period furniture, and an array of family belongings and photographs fill the space as if the owners had just popped out of the house for a picnic.

A little further along the same street a road junction is dominated by an Ottoman clocktower dating back to 1895. This could easily win a booby prize for ugliness; it looks rather as if the architect (one Filivarı Usta) had bodged it together with a collection of materials left over from  other jobs. The tower was a gift to the town from Hacıkadızade Süleyman Efendi and is worth a look if only because it retains an orginal clockface with Arabic rather than Roman numerals.”  http://www.turkeyfromtheinside.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=578:mula&catid=42:places-to-go

 

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Clock face isn’t clear but maybe you can get the idea.  It certainly isn’t so attractive now, especially compared to other clock towers like the one in Jaffa.  But when this was built there weren’t any blue Efes signs or other adverts so perhaps the tower looked better.

 

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You must remove your shoes before entering which is a lovely custom except when you have shoes that tie and the ground is cold! But there were carpets on the marble stairs.

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Hacıkadı Evi interior.

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These men were more than happy to pose for their photo.

 

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If you saw a giant wooden fork and couldn’t read the “Don’t Touch Please” sign, what would you do?

 

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Muḡla Gothic

 

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Ed and his new Turkish pal wrestling…I have no idea how or why this came about; I just took the photo.  I do know it was all in fun.

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I absolutely can translate the words Halk Kὒtὒphanesi which means Public Library…so I had to go in and visit after making a whirl wind tour of the Muḡla Museum across the way.

 

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Internet Access Center…I can read that too

 

I took this photo before I went upstairs to the main part of the library.  There were staff upstairs ..and books…and magazines..and and and… I was told photos weren’t allowed.  I explained that I worked in a public library in America so I was taken downstairs to meet other staff.  We discussed privacy and also what it’s like fitting the functions of a library into a building that was originally a police station.  The museum across the way was originally a prison!  Though my Turkish is less than minimal and the man I spoke with had “some” English, the language of libraries is universal so we had a lovely conversation.  It certainly makes me appreciate our brand new beautiful  Roanoke County South County Library. 

 

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The Public Library on the right.  Facing it across the parking lot is the Muḡla Museum. 

 
 

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The Entrance/Exit Muḡla Museum….that’s our friend Ed and that’s our gallons of corn syrup which the Halvah shop had kindly delivered to the museum for us to collect. 

 

Then it as off to the Culture Center

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I think I read that the yellow home is more Greek in design but the white and brown building, the Culture Center is Ottoman.  The yellow building has not been restored. 

 

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Standing in the Culture Center courtyard looking up at the hill behind town where once there was a castle, but no more.

 

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Artwork in the courtyard: and notice the double doors to the right of the wood scupture.

 

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Gwen exiting through the “lambs doors.”

 

Facing the museum is the Konakaltı İskender Alper Cultural Centre, housed in a wonderfully stretched-out wooden building where you can start to hone a taste for the particular characteristics of local architecture. In particular you should inspect the  huge double gates which used to swing open to admit carts. Set into these are a pair of much smaller doors called kuzulu kapılar (lamb doors) even though they were intended for people.

The tops of these doors have delightful intricately carved topknots reminiscent of stone carvings found in English Gothic churches of the Decorated period. It’s a style you’ll find replicated throughout Muğla as well as in nearby Milas. http://www.turkeyfromtheinside.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=578:mula&catid=42:places-to-go

 

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Taz, our guide and Rick, our friend helping carry the corn syrup to our bus and our journey back to Marmaris. 

 
 

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Losing your mind and buying 5 gallons of corn syrup to make pecan pie when you have no source of pecans is one thing.  Losing your head altogether is another!  Can you find headless Randal?  H’es wearing a green and black jacket and standing on the right side of the photo.

The End

Mugla with Gwen part 2 of 3: the food tour

Merhaba,

   It’s raining so we’re catching up with inside tasks.  Randal is cleaning the engine room.  I’m trying to finish the emails about our Stratonikeia/ Muḡla trip.   This email revolves around food and coffee.  If you’re hungry, best read it later as there are photos of desserts.  At the coffee shop in Muḡla we encountered coffee brewed in heated sand for the first time.  And we visited what many consider the best helva or halvah shop in Turkey. 

Ru

DoraMac

      I like Muḡla.  We’ve been twice now and I’ve liked it both times.  Last August we spent the day with friends Bill and Judy visiting the painted mosque, the Thursday bazaar and open air fruit and vegetable market and walked through the sections  of old Ottoman style shops and homes. No one gave us the “tourist sell.”  The bazaar areas were mostly for the locals so it was low key and fun.   For August, the weather was quite pleasant, cooler than seaside Marmaris.  Muḡla is 660 meters  ( 2,165 ft.)  about sea level so though there are no cooling sea breezes, the altitude makes a difference much as it did in Jerusalem compared to seaside Herzliya or Ashdod.  This visit to Muḡla we even saw minuscule snow flurries!   Though I often rant against Wikipedia, I think they captured Muḡla fairly well. 

     “ Muğla (pronounced [moolah]) is a city in south-western Turkey. It is the center of the district the same name, as well as of Muğla Province, which stretches along Turkey´s Aegean coast. Muğla center is situated inland at an altitude of 660 m and lies at a distance of about 30 km (19 mi) from the nearest seacoast in the Gulf of Gökova to its south-west. Muğla district area neighbors the district areas of Milas, Yatağan and Kavaklıdere to its north by north-west and those of Ula and Köyceğiz, all of whom are depending districts. Muğla is the administrative capital of a province that incorporates internationally well-known and popular tourist resorts such as Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye.

      The district area’s physical features are determined by several pot-shaped high plains abbreviated by mountains, of which the largest is the one where the city of Muğla is located and which is called under the same name (Muğla Plain). It is surrounded by slopes denuded of soil, paved with calcerous formations and a scrub cover which gives the immediate vicinity of Muğla a barren look uncharacteristic for its region. Arable land is restricted to valley bottoms.

      A relatively small city of 61,550 (2009 estimates) and often overlooked by visitors to near-by coastal resorts, Muğla has received a new boost with the foundation of Muğla University in the 1990s. Today, the university brings together a student community of 16,000 and, added by its academia and staff, it played a key role in bringing movement to the city and in opening it to the outside world. Its former profile of a predominantly rural, difficult to access, isolated and underpopulated region enclosed with a rugged mountainous complex is now coming to an end. Also in recent years, a major program of restoration of the city’s architectural heritage has enhanced local tourism. The city remains an orderly, compact and leafy provincial center which could keep its old neighborhoods without surrendering to a boom in concrete constructions and displays a progressist mind as exemplified by the pride still expressed on having had Turkey’s first female provincial governor in the 1990s, Ms. Lale Aytaman. Nevertheless, Muğla still lacks sizeable manufacturing and processing centers and relies on trades, crafts, services, tourism and agriculture in its economy.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu%C4%9Fla

http://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/skylife/2007/march/articles/mugla.aspx is another good description of Muḡla.

  A good deal of what we did this visit to Muḡla was connected to food.   First we ate lunch.  Then we visited a coffee shop for Turkish coffee, decadent cakes and, for me ‘sicak ҫikolata’  hot chocolate. 

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Coffee brewed in heated sand one cup at a time: so don’t come to a coffee shop in a hurry, even where it’s brewed on a stove rather than sand. 

“A moderately low heat is used so that the coffee does not come to the boil too quickly—the beans need to be in hot water for long enough to extract the flavor. In a modern setting normal gas or electric heating is satisfactory. Traditional heating sources include the embers of a fire, or a tray about 10 cm (4 in) deep filled with sand. The tray is placed on the burner. When the sand is hot, the coffee pot is placed in the sand.[citation needed] This allows a more even and gentle heat transfer than direct heat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_coffee

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Coffee is served in these cute tiny coffee cups that keep the coffee warm

 

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Gwen with her Turkish coffee.  The cups are tiny but the coffee is strong and thick and sweet so you don’t need much unless you want to be awake for a week.

 

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Hard to describe this cake…though I think there may be some marzipan at work here. Between us Randal and I could not finish one piece which is saying something about how heavy and dense it was.  Amazingly enough it wasn’t overly sweet.  Have no idea what it really is.  Randal saw Ed eating a piece one ordered one based just on how it looked.  Had I known our next stop was the best halva shop in Muḡa, I  would have skipped the  hot chocolate and helped less with the cake.

 

Backgammon is a popular past time in Turkey  http://www.bkgm.com/articles/Crane/TavlaInTurkey/index.html is a “tongue-in cheek”  introduction to Turkish gackgammon culture by a member of the British Backgammon Association.

 

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Not just  for men, lots of women were playing in the coffee shop on these lovely decorative boards.  I have no clue how to play.

 

As I said, our next stop was the halva shop.  Randal and I aren’t halva fans though most of our friends, Linda and Michael, Charmaine and Linda, and Rick and Mary are so from time to time we eat it.  It reminds me of the filling of “peanutbutter cream patties” that we ate in grade school which was very sugared peanut butter.  I know there are grades of halva and the best must be much better than sugared peanut butter.  But the last thing we need is to develop the taste for yet another sweet treat.

 

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The name of the shop is Helvaci Tahsin which translates to halva in my dictionary.  Tahsin seems to relate to the word sesame, a word not listed in the English halves of either of my Turkish dictionaries. Nor is tahini listed. 

 

24 March 2008 / SHARON CROXFORD , İSTANBUL http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=137059  for the entire interesting article telling the history and ingredients of various versions of halva.

    “The Larousse Gastronomique states that "halva or halvah" is "an Eastern sweetmeat based on roasted sesame seeds, which are ground into a smooth paste (tahin) and then mixed with boiled sugar.

It has a high fat content and, although very sweet, a slightly bitter taste. Other types of halva can be aerated and whipped and cream or crystallized (candied) fruit may be added." Many people’s perception of halva (or "helva," as it is known in Turkey) would fit in well with the Larousse definition and, while not technically wrong, by dismissing halva so easily they are missing out on some of the best tasting and simplest sweets and desserts available.

Halva is spelt in as many ways as there are varieties of the sweet: halva for English speakers, halava in Sanskrit, halvah for Hebrew, halwa in Hindi or Arabic and then more. The true origins of halva reflect this collection of languages, all centered around countries east of Europe and, while many cultures lay claim to inventing the delicious food, historians believe that it is an ancient confection originating in the Middle East. In fact, the name halva comes from the Arabic word hulw, which means sweet. In the seventh century hulw consisted of a paste of dates kneaded with milk. In the following centuries, as its popularity spread with the conquering and assimilation of cultures, the term referred to toasted flour or semolina mixed with honey or a sugar, date or grape syrup and made into a paste over a medium heat. Since then it has evolved into a multitude of things, incorporating an assortment of ingredients and cooking methods.

 

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The halva with the stripes is chocolate…that’s what Mary and Rick chose.  We didn’t buy any halva, but we did buy something else…

 

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Corn syprup. 

To make pecan pie you need corn syrup which isn’t sold in any of the markets in Marmaris.  (Of course neither are pecans, but that’s another story.)  A main ingredient in halva is corn syrup so the shop had lots but could only sell it in 5 gallon containers.  The price was right so we bought a container thanks to Taz acting as translator. 

 

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  Mevlut Kesici  the shop owner  and halva maker with Randal

 

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Taz handing around some samples.

 

That concludes the food part of the tour but we still had more activities including my visit to the Muḡla Public Library.

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Stratonikeia and Mugla redoux part 1

Merhaba,

    This past Tuesday Randal and I retraced our steps to Mugla and Stratonikeia, but this time we went on a Gwen tour with a guide and several other cruisers from both Netsel and Yacht Marine.  It was lots of fun; but it was freezing!  I was definitely wishing I’d brought my huge down jacket with me from home; but that just seemed unnecessary based on our experience in North Cyprus.  It’s colder here!  Luckily it was a bright sunny day, so that helped.  As for having a guide; I was too cold to stand around and listen to what he had to say. 

We left the marina by coach bus about 7:45 am and made our first stop an hour later for coffee and the WC.  You know how in the US if you order coffee they come around and refill your mug?  Not here.  You get a cup of coffee and that’s it.  But that does keep the tour group from hanging around too long in the warm coffee shop.  I’ve written about Stratonikeia twice before so I’ll just post some photos here that show aspects I’d not posted previously.

Ru

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Burial tomb

 

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Everyone had to go in and take a photo.  Here’s Rick taking his.

 

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Our guide Taz explaining about the Roman mosaic in Stratonikeia

 

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Fallen olives littered the path along the way.

 

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Frozen amphitheater

 

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I climbed up to the nosebleed section.  The stage had become a frozen pond!

 

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Maybe the earthquake crumbled the seating

 

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Numbers were given to each block or column so they could be put back in place at some point during the renovation.

From Stratonikeia we drove back to Muḡla and the first stop was lunch! 

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This is the traditional dish called iskender; sliced meat with a gravy, rice, etc.  It’s Ed’s favorite which is why he is smiling!

    “This is just one of the many different kinds of kebabs you can try in Turkey. The Iskender Kebab comes from Bursa in Northwestern Turkey and is one of our favorites. It is made with thinly sliced lamb or beef topped with tomato sauce over sliced pide bread. Tomato sauce and boiling butter are poured over the dish. The dish is served with a side of yogurt.” 

http://www.gotourturkey.com/blog/2011/01/turkish-cuisine-iskender-kebab/ .  Ed’s favorite iskender was served at a restaurant in Istanbul.  La Fortuna, a restaurant here at Netsel comes a close second, but he said this Muḡla iskender was pretty good too.

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Iskender meat Is cooked on a rotating spit and then sliced thinly with huge kives.

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Lunch was obviously one of the day’s high lights!  I had a cheese, lamb and (forgive me) ground veal pide (Turkish pizza like dish.) I have a philosophical issue with veal, but we won’t go into that here…..  Lunch was good and fun and warm! 

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After lunch we explored Muḡla, but it was cold so we looked for indoor activities rather than spend time exploring this tempting bazaar area.  We stopped in at the painted mosque which you saw from our first trip to Muḡla with Bill and Judy back in August when the problem was heat! http://www.mydoramac.com/wordpress/?p=12231

Part 2 includes my visit to the Muḡla Public Library and Randal buying 5 gallons of corn syrup!

Saturday hike from Siteler to Armutalan with the Dead End Trail Gang

Merhaba,

   The season must have changed here beginning with the new year.  No rain for several days.  That’s been great as I can do laundry and we can walk.  And walk.  And walk.  Today Randal’s feet hurt and I’m not sorry that tomorrow morning Turkish lessons resume so no long walk. 

Ru

     It was all Mary’s idea;  but the rest of the Dead End Trail Gang was eager to go.  A sunny day, a walk in the wood, snacks!  What more could you want except maybe less walk and more snacks!   We left the marina and walked to the bus stop by the WC just in time to catch the 10:55 dolmus to Siteler  the far western part of Marmaris town.   The walking trail follows the fire road up into the woods so the path is easy to follow until it splits into two paths and then you have to guess. The town map has a short black line at Siteler and a short black line at Armutalan but nothing in between to tell you the actual route. So you have to make some guesses, at least if you start at the Siteler end of the trail.  The Armutalan trail head has a map.  There is one half-way along the trail from the Siteler end, but by then you’ve already had too many unmarked options where you just had to guess.  But then we’re not called the Dead End Trail Hiking Group for nothing.

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We started in Siteler and walked to Armutalan which seemed to me to be the easier direction as the climb seemed more gradual than the walk down. 

A man looking at least a decade younger than we came huffing and puffing up from the Armutalan side. 

 

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The distances of the different hike options….but where would you be when you got to Arkutҫa or Asparan?  We weren’t quite sure where we were when we got to Armutalan. 

 

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We heard but didn’t see birds or any “porky pines” or any other fauna.  We saw several kinds of wild flowers but didn’t know what they were.  I’ll have to get out my Wildflowers of North Cyprus and see if any of them match what’s here.

 

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Starting out in Siteler which looks much like all of the other trails we’ve hiked around Marmaris.

 

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Stopping for a snack!    Randal, Rick and Mary

 

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Along the way you could look back and see the water

 

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Varity of wild flowers, purple, yellow and white.  Spring should be lovely here.  Jane, whose family owns Buttons the dog,  knows about wild flowers and has mentioned going on walks to see them.

 

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This silted over “fountain of the forest” was just near a waterfall and stream. 

 

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There were lots of waterfalls along the way but the trail was dry

 

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Randal and Rick examining casings from shotgun shells.  Notice that Randal’s new hat has ear flaps that he can use when it’s cold.  Nice hat.  At the far end of the trail, more accessible by car…we heard the sound of hunting but didn’t find it any cause for concern. 

 

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After walking almost an hour we found our first map.  It was a good thing too or we might have ended up in Arkutҫa.  But then we’d have know where you were when you are in Arkutҫa.  Another day for that experiment. 

 

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Our way down the mountain to Armutalan seemed a different ecosystem with more open areas and moss everywhere.

 

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We stopped for our picnic lunch just near a large bee-keeping operation: lots of blue box hives and a small shack for the keeper.

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Marmaris is famous for its pine honey and you can see why.  We’ll have to try some as well as the “bitter orange” marmalade. 

 

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Our first view of town; far, far away……

 

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Some local graffiti

 

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At the foot of the mountain was an  upscale community and a trail that might need exploring.

 

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There were some lovely homes, quite different from the small apartments near the Old Town Center of Marmaris.  Randal and I have never explored this area, even on our motorbike.

 

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It says something about English my second mother tongue or “second main language.”  As there is an image of the Statue of Liberty I’m thinking they’re learning American English rather than British, Aussie, Kiwi or Indian English.  I was intrigued by the thought that Turkish people should want their kids to learn English and be connected to an American Culture Association. “This training 8-9 hours a day spent with the student teachers during the training model that it replaces the parents only one English teacher for English speaking teachers (but not students understand) gözlemletir students to speak English is a natural process. It’s not a special case of Ayed child speaking English, and in the ordinary course of life, and is a communication method that you should use this method to communicate with the teacher understands. learn to forget anymore, and English.”  This is a Google translation of some of the information on the AKDKIDS website which is only a bit more understandable than the original Turkish.

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This is the photo that goes with the information above.  I still have no clue. 

www.akdkids.com is the site but it’s entirely in Turkish as far as I can tell.

Further along we saw this colorful scene; orange, red, pink and the blue of the woman’s blouse that I zoomed.

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I don’t know if she saw me.  I thought she made a lovely subject with the flowers and her blue shirt.

 

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A dolmus came along and we flopped onto some seats almost 3 hours since we’d hopped onto the 10:55 dolmus to Siteler. It was definitely worth the 2 TL not to have to walk another hour to the marina. At the end of the run we just sat there hoping the dolmus went further into town..but it didn’t so we had to get off and walk….to the bakery near West Marine a few blocks from the marina.

 

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What Marmaris really needs is a Crispy Crème or Dunkin Donut.  These Turkish treats were just not sweet enough to reward us for our long hours of hiking.  What Randal and I really wanted was one of those gooey sugar laden cinnamon buns like you get in the ariports and make yourself sick on.  I did buy a huge loaf of bread because the bread and simits here are wonderful.

 

We were really pretty tired when we got back to the boat.  But we rallied and had friends come for dinner. They said good-night about 10 PM and I watched an episode of Murdoch Mysteries and then went to sleep.  Randal came a bit later and neither one of us moved until 7:40 AM Sunday morning.  We had to get up, eat breakfast and get ready to meet Mary and Rick for our weekly walk to the Sunday market and lunch at Brothers.  After our Saturday hike over the mountain, the Sunday walk felt twice as long as usual.  Monday morning Turkish lessons start again so no long morning hike.  Yippee.  

Happy New Year and Hamsi for dinner!!

Merhaba

Yeni Yılınız Kutlu Olsun    

Mutlu YılLar

Both phrases mean Happy New Year but the second is much easier to remember and to say correctly without mucking up the pronunciation.    Our New Year’s Eve was fun!  We could participate in all of the midnight whoopla without even getting off the boat.  Actually without even getting out of bed!  Just the other side of restaurant row there were lots of festivities as well as in the several restaurants.  We could hear the bands and the Boom Boom Boom of the midnight  fireworks.  ( I was too buried under a zillion blankets to get up and go watch the display.)  We’d actually planned to have a New Year’s Eve drink at Pineapple about  9 pm and then stroll the Netsel Plaza’s street party, but the rain put a kibosh on that plan….at least for us.  The power had been blown out in Marmaris earlier in the evening so we had no shore power so no heat on the boat (as that would have used up too much battery power).  If we’d been actually cold, Randal would have messed with the diesel heater.  But as it wasn’t terribly cold and we have a zillion blankets and flannel sheets, we chose to forgo the heater.  But it made a foray out into the wet, chilly night not so appealing.   We’d already spent enough time in the rain walking back and forth and back and forth going for dinner.   This email is actually about that dinner and how you might start out to eat  hamsi, but end up with a platter of meat and chicken to feed a crowd. 

Ru

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Star Restaurant  across the second bridge and down from the Import Shop.

But what are hamsi?

“The arrival of fall in Istanbul usually means one thing for us: hamsi season is about to begin. Hamsi, of course, are the minuscule fish (Black Sea anchovies) that Istanbulites are mad about, and the coming of fall and the cooling of the waters of the Black Sea mark the beginning of the best time of the year to eat the little suckers.”  http://www.culinarybackstreets.com/istanbul/2012/hamsi/

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I’m jumping the gun a bit here; but to eat hamsi is why we went out to dinner so you should see what I’m talking about.   These are definitely not your tinned anchovies.  They’re grilled and you eat everything except the head.  They are somewhat of an acquired taste.  I like them.  They remind me of the smoked mullet I ate in Florida and tasted for the next 3 days.   So how did we happen to eat hamsi New Year’s Eve?

 

New Year’s Eve morning Rick, Mary, Sue and Randal and I had gone out walking and then stopped for lunch at Acıktım.  On the way back to the marina we passed a restaurant that offered hamsi and salad for 7 TL. Rick asked Mary if she wanted to have that for dinner.  As I had nothing much planned for dinner,  I asked if we could go too.  I wanted to try hamsi as I have eaten voppa in Izmir (grilled sardines) and liked it.    Also, if Randal and I left the boat at 6 pm maybe we’d still be awake and able to join folks for a New Year’s drink at Pineapple later in the evening.  That was my thinking anyway.  Mary and Rick mentioned the dinner plan to Jane and Collin and I mentioned it to Sue and Ed so it was 8 of us who went off for hamsi. 

 

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Now where exactly was that restaurant?  Rick was the leader of our group, but managed to misplace the restaurant.  Some places in town you only find on your way back from town, not on your way from the marina.  That’s because we come and go so many ways that we’re never absolutely sure where everything really is.  We know the general vicinity, but sometimes you have to circle around until you actually find where you’re going.  Luckily I’d remembered where Rick had pointed out the sign that morning;  and remembered it was the restaurant across from where we’d eaten lunch with Michael and Linda 2 years ago and also across from where I’d bought some bananas 2 days ago. Totally makes sense to me.  Of course by then it was absolutely “pouring  down rain” so, leaving everyone else under an awning, Rick and I walked ahead to make sure I was correct about the location.  Actually, it was just down the street and around a corner.  By the time we all got there we were glad to be inside! 

It was a bedraggled group that entered the Star Restaurant.  We looked like just-arrived,  dazed tourists which brought a sparkle to the eye of the head guy.   By the time he was done with us we had ordered enough food for a dozen people. 

 

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Rain, rain and more rain!  I’d worn my big rain boots and rain jacket and had an umbrella as well as lots of warm clothes and a hat so I was pretty warm and dry despite the rain.  Rubber boots are the bomb!

 

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Rick, Mary, Jane, Collin, Ed, Sue, and  Randal still sporting the bow from the Netsel gift swap!

 

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All smiles and then…..

 

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The arm twisting began.  I don’t know why Collin was the guy who got picked for the upsell, maybe he was nearest.  In truth, only Rick, Mary, Randal and I had come for the sole purpose of eating cheap hamsi!  The others were open to some arm twisting and other options.  All of us have left restaurants wondering how we’d  so wrongly ordered  twice as much food as we’d thought we’d ordered.  But Rick put his foot down and Mary, Randal and I took his cue and we 4 had a dinner of just plain hamsi. 

 

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The owner and his mom…she loved having her photo taken.

 

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St. Nicholas was born and died in Turkey so the fact that he’s still here shouldn’t be such a surprise.

 

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Somehow Jane, Collin, Sue and Ed had been talked into two platters…and that was after two orders of meze.  Most of the food went home for Jane and Collins’s dog Buttons and the cat that has adopted Sue and Ed. Walking through the restaurant back from the WC I’d noticed tables of 4 locals sharing only one platter. It really was unkind of the waiter to allow our group to order so much food.  Not sure any of us will be returning to The Star any time soon. But I must say, when we left, the place was full of locals which does say one good thing for it.  You just have to know what to order and how much.  And among Turks, big meals are meant to be eaten slowly over a long period of time.  In her book Blue Arabesque Patricia Hampl writes about Anais Nin’s visit to Turkey and notes a reference Nin made about spending time with some Turkish women.  “She {Nin} was invited here, invited there, visiting the lovely shadowy homes of elegant people for whom “it is a mortal insult…to seem hurried.”  Randal and I tend to eat; Turks dine!  If you eat slowly and intend to spend hours; you can eat a huge platter of food.  A long drawn out meal that takes hours is not my idea of a good time…except maybe for Thanksgiving or on very special occassions.  I’d rather go for a walk or read!   I guess Yankee ingenuity doesn’t match well with relaxing hour long meals.  Actually Yankee ingenuity doesn’t mix with relaxing period. 

 

We left the restaurant and walked back to the marina in the rain.  Everyone came aboard DoraMac for some tea, coffee and to spend a bit of time before moving along to Pineapple for the start of the New Year’s Eve celebrating.  It was really nice to have everyone aboard and when they left , Randal and I decided to call it a night  Everyone else did continue on to the celebrations…Mary and Rick until

2 AM.  They all had lots of fun but I was happy to spend the evening on DoraMac with Randal watching episodes of Murdoch Mysteries.  About 11PM all the lights in the Netsel Plaza went dark and then came on and, voila! We had power again.

January 1st we got up early…unlike most folks we know and about 10:30 Rick, Mary, Irina, Randal and I went for a long walk. In the afternoon Kevin and Mai stopped by for tea and then I made some banana bread for the marinaros as a Happy New Year gift.   Apparantely how you spend your time January 1 sets the tone for your whole year.   Or so they say around here.  We had a nice long walk and spent the day with friends.  I could spend a year that way.