Lozan Meydanı

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    • Day 45

      Lunch @ Basta La Pasta

      October 17 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

      With Deniz leaving Türkiye tomorrow, the three siblings and Mui took mom to an Italian café for lunch.

      Basta la Pasta is small — maybe 6 or 7 tables. The menu is simple — a variety of fettuccine dishes and two or three other pastas, including lasagna.

      Delicious … and we all enjoyed the preparation of fettuccine in the Parmesan wheel.
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    • Day 5

      Free Transportation

      September 7 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 79 °F

      Par for the course, since arriving in İzmir Tuesday evening we have been spending most of our time with family ... at my mom's condo. When we are not there, we are settling into our home base a few blocks away and running errands all over the city.

      One of those errands took us downtown this morning to pick up an "İzmirim Card." This is a contactless smart card that can be used to pay fares for all means of public transport in the city, including buses, trams, metro, and ferries.

      I've had one of these cards for years. What made the one we picked up today special is that because I have reached that "magic age," I no longer have to pay to ride public transportation in İzmir. No need to top off the card or worry about whether there's enough money for a ride anymore. Just tap and go. 😁
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    • Day 2

      2. Day Izmir VIII

      August 8, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ 🌙 30 °C

      Afterwards, we were finished, but we really wanted to see the Artemis Temple, which was one of the 7 wonders of the world in ancient times. Unfortunately, only one column of the temple still stands, which was quite disappointing. Somehow, we were relieved because we were finally going home. Selcuk has to be mentioned again, it is a beautiful little town with trees growing everywhere. We saw everything from oranges, lemons and pomegranates to grapes, and all this in the middle of the town on the main roads.

      When we arrived back in Alsancak/Izmir, we decided to eat on the promenade in a restaurant called Magro. The ambience was nice, the view of the sea excellent, the staff nice and the soup and salad were well done. Unfortunately, the steak and manti were not good. It's complaining at a high level, but in Turkey you can eat much better for less money. Our recommendation is to have a drink and a light meal there. Otherwise go somewhere else ;)
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    • Day 49

      İzmir Tradition: Lokma Dökmek

      May 6, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

      Lokma is a pastry made with leavened dough. The dough is shaped either like a ball or a doughnut and deep fried. Then, it is soaked in simple syrup just long enough to coat the exterior. It is often garnished with cinnamon before serving.

      The name lokma literally translates as a bite or a morsel. When shaped like a ball, they are just that … a bite-sized sweet treat.

      It is possible to find a “lokmacı” (lokma maker) where one can enjoy this sweet treat. But that’s not how we came to be eating lokma today.

      You see, there is a tradition in Turkey called “lokma dökmek.” The literal translation is “dropping lokma” … from dropping bits of the dough into boiling hot oil to fry it. This is done by the family of a deceased person to honor his/her memory. Large quantities are made on the street, often in front of mosques, and the fresh, still-warm lokma is distributed to neighbors and passersby. It’s not uncommon for people to queue up to receive a plate and recite a prayer for the soul of the deceased after they eat the lokma. Though traditionally this is done forty days after someone has passed, it might also be done on the anniversary of the death of the deceased.

      The lokma that was “dropped” today was at the request of the young man who owns the neighborhood bakkal (mini market) … in honor of the anniversary of his mother’s death
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    • Day 27

      İzmir: Surprise, Mom … We’re Here!

      April 14, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 68 °F

      Although I was born in the US, I grew up in İzmir, Turkey. Some forty years ago, Mui and I were married in İzmir, and soon after, we made the permanent move to the US.

      We’ve been back and forth practically every year since to visit family. Flying in and out mostly, but on a few occasions, we departed by ship out of İstanbul. This was our first time arriving in İzmir by ship, however, so it was a special occasion for us … especially doing so on Insignia’s maiden call to the city.

      What was even more special today was that my sister, Aylin, and I had made arrangements to surprise mom. Aylin and her daughter-in-law, Serenay, conspired to get mom out to a café for brunch. Unbeknownst to her, we were waiting for them at the café. We had a delightful reunion and meal, joined also by Murat, my brother-in-law, and Hakan, my nephew.

      After brunch, we all went to mom’s place where we had an afternoon of catching up. From the non-stop chatter, you would think that we had not visited them for four months just last fall.

      Aylin and Serenay had a surprise for me as well … a birthday celebration redux. My birthday was actually on the 11th and we had already marked the occasion while in Haifa! I enjoyed the surprise birthday cake … after making sure that two celebrations within just a couple of days didn’t mean that I would be adding two years to my age ;-)
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    • Day 19

      International Textile Biennial: Scissors

      September 21 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

      What took Mom, Aylin, and me to Kültürpark was the International Textile Biennial, which is being hosted by the İzmir Municipality.

      The exhibits are on display at various venues around the city, two of which are at pavilions in Kültürpark … a short 5-minute walk from Mom’s apartment. We decided to check these out first to decide if we wanted to go further afield in the upcoming weeks to see some of the other exhibits.

      The theme of the Textile Biennial is “… Slow down, Focus on the Touch.” Meticulously handcrafted fabric art is intended to remind the audience of the power and meaning of textiles, and highlight sustainable and ethical practices. Quotes on the walls of the venues are designed to encourage this mindset.

      The first exhibit, housed in the former Pakistan Pavilion built in 1938 — during the heyday of the İzmir International Fair (mentioned in the previous footprint) — was a small one. Four glass cases displayed scissors from various time periods. Interesting … but what was to come would really capture our attention.
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    • Day 19

      İzmir Kültürpark

      September 21 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 81 °F

      The IEF — İzmir Enternasyonal Fuarı — translates as the İzmir International Fair. Indeed, an international affair it was, with countries from around the world attending to showcase their products … big and small.

      In my youth, the fair used to be a month-long event that heralded the end of summer. Strolling the fairgrounds in the evenings; going on rides in the Luna Park; attending plays and concerts featuring A-list stars in the open air theaters; browsing the country and company pavilions and stalls for goods and sweet treats. These and more were all part of the fun. There was even a parachute jump for those who wished for a bit of daredevilry.

      In recent years, the annual fair has become a smaller affair. But the fairgrounds, which are generally referred to as Kültürpark (Culture Park), still see extensive use by the public as they did in the past. Some go there to walk or run the purpose-built path; others go for a stroll, a picnic, or just to meet friends; lovers rendezvous in quiet corners. On Wednesdays a farmer’s market is hosted near one of the entrances. Concerts and plays are still held periodically. Sometimes the country pavilions are pressed into service as exhibit space.

      It was the latter that took mom, Aylin, and me to Kültürpark today. I’ll post about the exhibits separately. In the meantime, here are a couple of quick shots from around the park.
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    • Day 47

      Apple Pie Bakers

      May 4, 2022 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

      Mom and Mui decided to bake an apple pie today ... she prepared the filling; Mui handled the dough placement. Sherlock, Hakan and Serenay's cat, visiting mom while they are away for a couple of weeks, supervised from his perch above the counter.

      End result ... a delicious dessert for tonight!
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    • Day 98

      Fun Food Day

      December 11, 2021 in Turkey ⋅ ⛅ 57 °F

      It seems like I have a lot of food-related posts when we are in Turkey. What can I say, the food culture is very strong here … lots of restaurants and cafés and patisseries. As a family, we enjoy visiting our favorites … and checking out new places to see if we can grow our “favorites” list.

      Today, we started our day with breakfast, joining Aylin & Murat, and mom and Deniz at Léone, a French-themed patisserie. This was a pre-reward for mom, Aylin & Murat, who then went to get their COVID-19 booster shots.

      Sandy, our neighbor in Colorado makes beautifully decorated cookies. When Aylin and mom were visiting us in 2019, they got to taste some of the Christmas cookies Sandy sent over. I had thought about ordering cookies to take with me to Turkey this year, but the timing did not work out. No worries. Aylin found some at a Turkish patisserie. She had us over for afternoon tea today so we could test-drive the cookies. Yummy!

      We continued our food-themed day with dinner at Paprica … an Italian restaurant just a few steps down the street from mom’s condo. The food is always good here … and the service as well. Murat made reservations in the indoors section … we had the whole room to ourselves. I usually have pasta, but opted for the Paprica Beef Special, which is not unlike çökertme kebabı … small chunks of beef served over shredded fried potatoes with yogurt and tomato sauce. We ordered the caramel cake to share six-ways just to refresh our palates. We were so enjoying our meal that I, alas, forgot to take photos!
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    • Day 111

      Happy Birthday x2

      December 24, 2021 in Turkey ⋅ ☀️ 41 °F

      In 1966, mom, who was born on Christmas Eve, gave herself a birthday gift … my sister, Aylin, also born on the 24th. We’ve always celebrated their birthdays together … making it a grand occasion by having our big Christmas meal on the 24th, with birthday cake for dessert.

      This year, however, we’re having a family-only affair tonight to celebrate their special day. Since we will be having a Christmas party tomorrow night, with the traditional fixings, tonight’s menu was more in the vein of antipasti … heavy hors d'oeuvres and adult beverages … followed by birthday cake and “strawberry Santa treats.”

      So much fun!
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