News From the Sun Bow Front:
Dear friends and family,
January in Turkey was change a minute: first snow, than rain & wind, than sunny days. Glad I over packed my winter weight.
We visited Istanbul, Ankara and Konya.
The Market: stocks of village rugs and kilims continue to dwindle, although we did find some sweet pieces. The new weaving market continues, although one should beware of pieces made in China and India/Pakistan. Turkish dealers are making some of their "Turkish" pieces there, as the prices are lower. The Covered Bazaar was busy, but we didn't see any real business happening. Dealers were hungry, and ready to do business.
Ankara and Konya also showed less goods to purchase, and one of the Ankara carpet dealers even had a BIG SALE sign in his window. Unheard of in Turkey.
Konya news: Karavan has finally moved, and now has a 5 story building - filled with rugs and kilims. Silk Road has also moved, to a small shop upstairs. Best check with Mehmet Uchar at his Dervish Hotel, if they are closed when you visit. In addition, the Selim Mosque, next to Mevlana's tomb, has had the small shops and houses removed from it's entrance, and a large concrete courtyard installed. One can finally see the arched entrance to the mosque. Beautiful.
Click here for a slide show of images from the February trip
We also took the fast train from Konya to Ankara for lunch. Only 1 hour and 40 minutes - about $10., and business class is only a few dollars more, and is more spacious. A great place for a short nap. Super engineering work done by a Chinese company.
In Ankara we visited 2 museums - The Çengelhan Rahmi M. Koç Museum- - very interesting - especially their toy collection, and the Museum of Civilizations. Sorry to say 80% was under re-construction and renovation, and was closed, and that's after a long walk up the hill to the entrance. Still great statuary from Hittite and other pre Christian peoples of Anatolia.
In Istanbul we visited the Archeological Museum, and hung out with Alexander's sarcophagus. What a rush!
Food: Istanbul: still many tourists, and many hotels were full. Our favorite fish restaurant Gellik - Fish - has closed, and Gelik - meat is still open, with the staff moved over. Sorry to say, we haven't yet found their replacement for fabulous fresh fish. Khorosani Grill is still open in Sultan Ahmet, so at least we had great pistachio kufta, and lamb ribs.
We also re-discovered the bean restaurants: seems there are two kinds of baked bean dishes - one vegetarian (Erzinjan), and one with meat (Tokat). We tried them both, and found the meat/beans a better taste - also twice the price. Ali Baba's bean restaurant is by the Sulimania Mosque and Istanbul University. For 5 T.L. ($2 ish) one get a large bowl of delicious beans - very filling and fun, and the many restaurants - all called Ali Baba - in the plaza, all serve it from a huge copper kettle. Great tasting - must be the butter.
Konya still has the best simple food - the mixed lamb, tomato & cheese grilled sandwich is still brilliant, and the Konya Kebab (Firrin Kebab) at Ali Baba's is still mouthy watering fabulous.
Can't wait to return. Inshallah! in the late Spring.
Our shipment is still en route, and pictures of the trip should be ready soon.
The tea is fresh. The stories are interesting. We await the pleasure of your visit.
saul & the sun bow crew