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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Gumusluk, the artsy Bodrum.


I have already written on this blog about how Gumusluk is my favorite out of Bodrum's many charming bays but I wanted to share a few thoughts from this year's outing as well. I find Gumusluk to be 'the place' for me because it has all I love rolled into one quaint place, art, color, Roman ruins and phenomenal sunsets. 


When Gümüşlük is mentioned, most people will start to talk about the many fish restaurants that line the shore. There are great places to go out to dinner, as there are in many places in Bodrum, but my experiences while visiting during the day have always been exceptional.


There is a çay bahçesi (tea garden) that is at the very center of the little town. It is a non-pretentious establishment that serves sandwiches, drinks as well as lokma (fried dough balls drenched I syrup).


The Çay Bahçesi is very reasonably priced with a great view of colorful boats and the town on one side and Tavşan Adası (Rabbit Island) where the remaining  Roman ruins are still visible, on the other side. 


Gümüşlük was built on top of the ancient city of Myndos which is being excavated by archaeologists. It is possible to walk across the shallow sea and reach Tavşan Adası, by following the large marble slabs which a local fisherman referred to as the King's Way. Unfortunately, it is illegal to go on the island but reaching antique ruins by walking on water is still really cool.


Art, nature and history are everywhere in Gümüşlük in perfect harmony. The very air seems to invite creativity. There are trees artfully decorated trees that grow in the middle of the sea, sculptures that interact with nature and the ancient ruins, as well as art studios, jazz bars, and music festivals.

Just walking along the shore, one enters a magical world full of color and creativity. I especially love the decorated trees and the different colored straw umbrellas each establishment use to differentiate themselves from one another.

Satsuma Beach Club

With its hand-picked vendors who are required to produce hand-made articles in-situ for their stands in the small çarsi (market), Gümüşlük is also a great place for shopping. I saw a guy who made silver jewelery similar to the coins excavated on site, a lady who made hand-painted cotton t-shirts and vests, all kinds of personal accessories as well as pretty decorative items for the home.



It is fun to just walk around, taking pictures and enjoying the view but when it get's too hot, the best thing to do is to take a dip in the cool waters of the Aegean. There is a public beach as well as bars, restaurants and clubs or small hotels along the shore with sunbeds and umbrellas. These places are good to grab a bite to eat or a drink and even free wi-fi. After walking around for a couple of hours, I stopped by Satsuma Beach Club to change into my bathing suit and just jump in the water. This place had the very clean showers and changing cabins and restrooms. After swimming, I sat at the restaurant and had some tea and sandwiches. You can charge your phone and use the wi-fi and go back to another dip, if you feel like it. 



My little afternoon get-away in Gumusluk was so lovely and picture-perfect that it left me feeling wanting to slow-down time and just savor it forever...

video

How to get there:

Just take a dolmus from Bodrum, Turgutreis or Yalikavak to Gumusluk or drive and park in the parking lot at the entrance of the town. 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

From Window Shopping to one of the Greates Underwater Archaeology Museums in the World - Funfilled Bodrum Center


View of Bodrum from the Crusader Castle (Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum)

Bodrum is a peninsula lined with quaint bays on the coast of Turkey's Aegean shore. In the 1970s when people from the big cities like Istanbul or Ankara started to come here for summer vacations, they used to come to the center or the immediate periphery of Bodrum but these days people prefer the different bays like Yalikavak, Turgutreis, Gumusluk or Torba. However, the city center, which lacks decent beaches, is still a great place for shopping and entertainment.

The iconic windmills are decorated with the colors of the landscape
Tuesday is the day for Bodrum Pazar, which is supposed to be mainly for textiles, so I decided to brave the scorching heat to go into town and make a day-trip of it. The dolmus (minibus) I took into the city let us off at the bus depot, which was bordering the area where the bazaar was setup. Unfortunately, this market turned out to be a big disappointment, since it was too hot and stuffy to bear and all the vendors I was interested in told me they also came to the Yalikavak Pazar. I left the area immediately and started to walk towards the marina and the Bodrum castle by following the signs.


It would take probably about 15 minutes to get to the castle from the bus depot but I took my time, looking at souvenir shops, talking to the locals and taking lots of pictures.  Even if you don't buy anything, the shops are so colorful and fun that it becomes a very enjoyable way to pass the time.


The vine-covered walkway in the shopping arcades provide a cool respite from the summer heat

There are many great bays to swim near the Bodrum peninsula and the marina is the place to find just the right boat. It is possible to signup for a boat-trip of 20 or more people (depending on the size of the boat) or rent one for the day or even the week, privately.

The view from a mosque courtyard

 Once I reached the water, I turned left and waked towards the castle. The Bodrum Castle is a Crusader Castle that serves as the Underwater Archaeological Museum. Since I visited it many times including just last year, today all I planned to do was to sit and drink tea in its cool cafe surrounded by artifacts from antiquity.


There are several stalls that are situated along the walkway outside the walls of the castle. When I visited last year, I was in a hurry to get to the museum, so I couldn't stop and look at any of them.  There was a glassblower who made the prettiest beads right there. I was happy to see that he was still there. 

The glassblower made evil-eyes as well as glass jewelery
Natural Sponges for Sale
Miniature traditional Bodrum houses
Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum has a great bookshop and a shady cafe that I did not get a chance to sit and enjoy last year since the museum was closing when I was leaving. This time, I went to the bookstore and the cafe first.

Bodrum Castle Underwater Archaeology Museum Cafe
I bought John Freely's book The Western Shores of Turkey: Discovering the Aegean and Mediterranean Coasts in the bookstore and went to the cafe to enjoy a glass of Turkish tea with tost (Turkish grilled cheese). This cafe is really a haven from the heat and the hustle and bustle of the rest of Bodrum. Even though my plan was to just sit there briefly and then continue on to the Mausoleum I ended up going into the museum and staying for a couple of hours. The Mausoleum and the antique theater will be another excursion on another day.

Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum
Altar for Sacrificial Offering


Vessels found in the 11th century Serce Limani Glass Shipwreck
The minaret of the chapel-turned-mosque, courtyard of the Bodrum Castle
The chapel used by the Crusaders was turned into a mosque after the Ottoman conquest






Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mucver - Zucchini Pancakes

Mucver (Zucchini Pancakes)
Mucver, one of my favorite foods, is a side dish or an appetizer that I have seen in some Turkish restaurants in the United States. They usually refer to it as Zucchini Pancakes. If you don't mind fried foods, this could be a vegetarian (for those who eat eggs and cheese) fantasy.

This is a very easy dish to make that only requires chopping. 

Ingredients:

2 Medium Zucchini
1/2 Bunch Parsley
1/2 Bunch Dill
5-6 Green Onions
1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese
4 Medium Eggs
1 cup Flour
1 tspn salt
1/2 tspn black pepper
1/2 tspn baking soda

Vegetable Oil for deep frying.
Makes 8 pieces (the size of a donut)

Don't worry if you do not have the exact measurements - the shredded zucchini, the chopped parsley and dill mix, the chopped green onions and the crumbled feta should be about the same amount (see photos below). Since the feta is already salty, you may want to add more or less salt according to the saltiness of your cheese.

Once you have all the greens and the cheese mixed together, then add your beaten eggs and the spices. At last add the flour little by little, mixing as you go along to make sure you do not add too much. In the end it should be a pancake batter consistency.

Drop about 1/2 cup of mix into hot oil to deep fry the mucver. When one side has cooked enough to turn (in about 3 minutes) flip the mucver to the other side and remove from the oil once it takes on a golden color. Put on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve warm with yogurt.


Shred 2 zucchinis and leave in a strainer to release its extra water
Chop half a bunch of parsley and dill
Chop 5-6 green onions and add to the chopped parsley and dill
Add 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese and the strained zucchini
Add 4 whipped eggs, 1 tspn salt, 1/2 tspn black pepper and 1/2 tspn baking powder and 1 cup flour
I usually serve this with garlic yogurt (crushed garlic with whipped yogurt and a dash of salt).

Afiyet Olsun.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Locally Grown Produce at Market Day in Yalikavak, Bodrum

Summer Salad with Fresh Local Ingredients
With its crystal clear blue waters and world renown nightlife, Bodrum is one of the most popular summer destinations in Turkey.  Some come for the beach clubs, others for the refreshing Aegean breeze and quite a few come to rub elbows with the beautiful people, in short, to see and be seen. While my husband and I love the sea and the lovely climate, one of our favorite things about Bodrum is its weekly markets. There is a pazar (bazaar) setup in each town on a different day of the week where the villagers bring their locally grown fruits, vegetables, and locally made olive oil and cheeses to sell. There are also great textiles but that's a subject for another day. 


Our home for the next few weeks will be in Yalikavak, where Thursday is the day of the Pazar. We  arrived at the beginning of the week, and already went in search of the staples of any Turkish kitchen - olive oil, cheese, and olives. The Aegean is the land of olive trees, which means that it is also the home of the "real" olive oil. After purchasing a small selection of green and black olives, the most amazing feta cheese and a liter of olive oil, on Wednesday, we were all set for our Aegean foodie adventure. So, on Thursday morning we dropped by the pazar in Yalikavak to buy our fruit and vegetables.

 I can spend hours in the pazar, talking to the villagers, taking pictures, smelling all the fruits and vegetables and buying more than I can possibly carry. We didn't have too much time, so after a very quick trip to the Yalikavak Pazari, where I picked up bahce domatesi (garden tomatoes), semizotu (purslane), yesil biber (green peppers), kirmizi biber (red peppers), maydanoz (parsley), dereotu (dill), taze sogan (green onions) and salatalik (cucumbers), we got back to our apartment. My husband, who is a genius in the kitchen, put together a salad around one of my favorite ingredients - purslane, which I cannot find anywhere in the States except once in NY at the farmers market set up at Columbia University on Sunday. He added tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and a small bunch of parsley, dill and green onions with an olive oil and pomegranate sauce dressing that he topped with local olives and feta cheese. It was light yet had a complex mix of flavors that was very satisfying.



In the United States, we make an extra effort to find and invest in locally grown food products. In this part of the world, it is just a normal way of life. Around here the people eat healthy, wholesome foods, sit around drinking tea by small coffeehouses by the water and gaze into the sun set over the Aegean... I can get used to this.

Bodrum Bodrum

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I am in Heaven! To be more specific, in Bodrum.
I want to share the beauty of what I see and experience with whoever is interested... through social media. Why? Well, Turkey is one phenomenal country and I want the world to know it.
So, you can see my daily photos on Instagram or follow my tweets @SedefsCorner.