12 September 2007

AlSo: Van

Best breakfast ever!! According to the LP (which we’re still mad at, by the by for a few other references that require a letter to the editor), Van is famous for having the best breakfast spreads in Turkey, and it’s not hard to see why. We went down a side street only to find a whole alley set up with chairs and tables just for breakfast (kavalti salonu). There was a grass cheese, honeyCOMB served along with 5000 other types of cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, tahini, a few mystery substances, and bread. It was incredible.afterwards, we walked to Van Castle a little over, say, 3k out of town and past a bunch of kids who know “hello” and “money”. We scrambled up the ancient ruins and up a tall chimney (I don’t believe it was a minaret?) because, you know, it was there. Some people were beating what looked like cotton or wool below. Afterwards, we walked to Lake Van which was a relatively short jaunt from the Castle. It’s a pristine-looking lake (though Rick said there is a great deal of pollution) with almost no water activity, just one or two ferries. We had celebratory beer (what were we celebrating? Umm, the fact that there was beer and it might be the last one we have before Ramadan begins the next day) along the dock, then a dolmus whisked us back to the city. Coreyn managed to find us tickets back to Istanbul, so we celebrated THAT at a pide joint. The hospitality in this country is legion. We said we were vegetarian and asked if they had eggplant, and they of course replied, “Sure!” and then sent someone out to buy some for us. Incredible roasted vegetables! We had all been jonesing for some veggies. There was a soccer game on during dinner, Turkey against some M-stan country none of us had ever heard of. We are Americans, I suppose. No one scored for the duration of our meal, and we got up to leave the table with the score still 0-0. no sooner had we walked into the street and down an alley when we heard cheers and roars from everywhere! Turkey had scored. They scored twice more within a few minutes, and men spilled out of teahouses and lokantas clapping each other on the back. It was so festive!

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