News From the Sun Bow Front:
Dear friends and family,
It was May, and Turkey was once again warm with light breezes. This is worth noting, as Northern Europe was amidst a very cold spell, with lashing rains.
This trip we concentrated on locating dowery kilims from Anatolia, and we were successful!
Istanbul had fewer temptations than last January, but we did locate some sweet pieces. And then we went to Konya, and once again we found what we came for. All that plus great eats.
Click here for a slide show of images from the May trip
First some sad news re: food...
Although Gelik and Khorasani have both maintained their super high standards, I am very sorry to report that Hamdi has fallen by the way side. We went to Hamdi for Sunday lunch - they have installed a large open tent in front of their entrance. It looked comfortable, and we tried it. Lackluster service, and almost inedible food. They are no longer mincing their kufta, but rather grinding it, and this makes for an almost 'rubbery' consistency. A major change for them, and not what one expected, given their previous high standards. Too bad.
We visited all our friends and family, and found great kilims, and had some wonderful food. Yeah Konya!
Mehmet Uchar has finally opened his boutique hotel - Dervish Hotel. It's small and very sweet, with firm mattresses, and a great breakfast - almost made to order. His rug shop - Silk Road - is doing well. We found some yummy pieces there.
Karavan is still in the process of moving - it's been 2 years, and they are still saying - "in a few more months." Inshallah! When we return next time.
Young Partners is still the premier source for local area kilims, and their souvenir shop and felt shops are also doing very well. We found some fantastic kilims there..
And, if it's been awhile since you've visited Konya, note that the area around Shems Tabriz's tomb has been cleared of houses, and made into a park. It is quite wonderful - peaceful, and clean, and with happy people just resting in the shade. Pay particular attention to the young men selling hats and scarves outside the mosque...they are very sweet, with big eyes, and open hearts.
Konya still has the best food at the best prices: Ali Baba for Firrin Kebab (don't eat it anywhere else), and a number of kufta places - where they still hand mince their meat - one of which invented a new kofta - called Arab Kofta - which has bread added to the meat. It was so fabulous we went back for a second night of feasting.
We are told that the fast train will be connecting Konya and Istanbul in a year or so. This will mean much less travel time (than by air), and probably less costly. Ankara and Konya are already connected by Fast Train.
As an overview:
We are watching the availability and selection of great art pieces decline. Not only in quantity, but also in the number of dealers who have carried pieces which match our taste. They say the selection is becoming more and more limited, and I believe them.
Our shipment should be leaving Turkey in a week or so, and should be in store just in time for our upcoming Old Fashioned Bargain Days in July. More soon on that.
The tea is fresh. The stories are interesting. And the AC is working. We await the pleasure of your visit.
saul & the sun bow crew