Written by C. A. Fliedner on 18 Jul, 2002
You won't find the huge bazaars here, but the shops have many of the same souvenirs you'll find in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, and all of the other major tourist stops...only they're much cheaper. I did buy a intricately carved wooden tray and paid about…Read More
You won't find the huge bazaars here, but the shops have many of the same souvenirs you'll find in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara, and all of the other major tourist stops...only they're much cheaper. I did buy a intricately carved wooden tray and paid about $22 for it. I saw it in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul for over $30. The same goes with the silk scarves. I held off until I went to the Silk Bazaar in Bursa, a city near Istanbul. Again, I paid much more in Bursa than I would have paid in one of these small towns.
Buying products produced locally always makes sound economic sense. Because there are so many woodworkers in Bozburun, you'll find carved wooden objects cheaper there. I only wish I'd purchased a few more of these trays--they're gorgeous and would cost a small fortune here.
Basket weaving is also big in southern Turkey, though I didn't buy anything to bring back with me, due to my limited suitcase space on the sailboat.
Bozburun's local market day is every Tuesday. Every larger town has one, and you'll find wonderful bargains there. For instance, I bought several souvenir sets of spices and carved, brass grinders for about half of what it would have cost at the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul. Yes, it's true that I had to drag my purchases around with me for weeks on end, but I saved a lot of money by buying in out-of-the way places.
Free samples of food are always served in the market place, so take advantage of getting a taste of locally made cheeses, dried fruits, and candies. Turkish Feta isn't as salty as it's Greek cousin, and several of their white cheeses rival anything I've tasted in France, Belgium or Switzerland. Almost daily, our lunch consisted of fresh-baked bread, sliced home grown tomatoes, 3 or 4 kinds of cheese, including a yummy spreadable blue cheese, Turkish sausages, and fresh fruit juices. I'm still craving the wonderful peach and cherry nectar served everywhere in Turkey.
Written by C. A. Fliedner on 12 Aug, 2002
Veer off of the main road and you're immediately in another world: a place where the people live and work in much the same way as they have for generations. The roads are unpaved, and each small house has its own vegetable and fruit…Read More
Veer off of the main road and you're immediately in another world: a place where the people live and work in much the same way as they have for generations. The roads are unpaved, and each small house has its own vegetable and fruit garden. Livestock are tethered by one foot wherever the waist-deep grass needs trimming -- a productive way to keep your animals fed and the lawn cut at the same time.
Gulet building is Bosburun's main industry, and quite often, you'll find a "boatyard" in someone's backyard. The gulets are produced by hand, with only a few power tools present. The Turks take great pride in their craftsmanship, and the finished products are reminescent of the days of the pirates. I nearly broke out in song: Fifteen men on a deadman's ship. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.
While snooping around, we happened across a sort of three-walled hut. The cement floor was covered in brightly colored carpets and pillows. In the center of the room was a small, ornately carved wooden table topped with a Turkish tea set -- small glasses without handles rimmed with gold, and a matching teapot. Eight women sat inside, no doubt chattering about the latest happenings in Bozburun, who was seen with whom, and other local gossip. Many women earn extra money by doing handiwork, like carpet weaving and lace making. You usually find them working in groups, so that they can keep each other company doing what would otherwise become quite boring.
Not only are Turks friendly to outsiders, they're a tremendously social society. When visiting any town in Turkey, you'll find coffee houses filled with men playing backgammon, discussing whatever, and drinking cups of tea or coffee. It's a national tradition and harkens back to the past, when the pace of life moved much slower. In fact, one of the first known backgammon boards is carved into a marble table in one of Turkey's ancient cities.
Socializing is an important part of the Turks' culture, and much of this tradition is carried out by daily visits to the coffee or tea house to meet with friends. Rashid, a friend and tour guide in Turkey, explained that one reason there are so few homeless people, and why the crime rates are very low, is because of this socially oriented tradition. In the first place, friends and family take care of each other. If a Turk finds someone in need, they will most likely take them home until that person is back on his or her feet. If someone is unemployed, their friends help him out financially until he gets a job. He, in turn, will help out someone else when he can. The ranks of the unemployed hang out at the coffee houses, where they find comfort in spending time with their friends.
It's an amazingly cordial atmosphere; but then, that's typical of the kinds of unexpected traditions you'll find when visiting this wonderful country.