Saturday, October 8, 2011

All it takes is a little Kas

We arrived in the lovely town of Kas a week ago and have spent most of our time since we got here catching up on the work we're supposed to be doing--John's sabbatical project and my editing work for Princeton and Columbia. It's not been easy to resist swimming in the warm sea and visiting the nearby ancient attractions (and beaches), but we've managed to make quite a bit of progress even while allowing ourselves to play a bit.
We can see a Greek island (Meis, or Kastelrizo) from the back deck
Sunrise from our bedroom
 We have the good fortune of being friends with Cherry and Alan, whom we met in England about 25 years ago and who--even better fortune--own a beautiful villa perched on a hill just above the sea that they've generously allowed us to stay in for the month. There's a lot to be said about basing in one place for a month rather than being constantly on the go--it allows us to get to know the place, to cook for ourselves, to do the laundry (yay!), to adopt a cat or two or seven, and to keep our expenses low. Waking up every day to sunrise over the sea and the hills beyond is pretty special too!
Watching soccer in a Kas cafe
Kas has its share of tourists--mostly German and English--but nowhere near the number that flock to coastal resort towns like Bodrum and Kusadasi. There are enough that daily newspapers are flown in from Germany and Britain, and shopkeepers, boat owners, and restaurant staff speak a bit of English (always nice since our Turkish skills are in negative numbers). Last night most everybody in town was watching a qualifying game for next year's European soccer championships that featured Germany and Turkey, so we squeezed in to terrace seats at Barcelona Bar and joined the fun. The Germans were loud and full of beer as they won, 3-1, but Turkey still hopes to qualify for the next round. We love watching soccer games in Europe, where interest in the sport is almost universal.

It's been nice cooking for ourselves because the produce and meat here are really good quality, with quite a bit of variety. Yesterday we visited the weekly market that's set up on the edge of town and bought some great spices, vegetables, and, mustn't forget, a knock-off Prada purse (wonder how long it will take for that to start falling apart!). The guy who sold me the purse felt it necessary to tell me that it wasn't "really" a Prada. Did he think I was that dumb?
Fruit teas are a Turkish specialty--love the apple tea most
One day we took a full-day kayak trip to nearby Kekova Island, where we kayaked along the shore of the sunken Lycian city, with its range of ruins from Lycian, Roman, and Byzantine times. The winds whipped up by the time we were returning to the coastal town we had pushed off from, so the last part of the journey was in strong waves--our most adventurous kayak trip yet. Hope we can do some more while we're on the coast.

Kayaking past a Lycian tomb

 I like Turkish food but don't love it. Last night was an exception--we dined at a small (10 tables) outdoor cafe/restaurant called Uzum Kizi on a small street in Kas filled with other pretty restaurants. There was no menu, and all the cooking was done in an open kitchen by 3 personable Turkish women.
Preparing the meal at Uzum Kizi
We were invited to step up to the meze (appetizer) table and choose which of the 10 or so mezes we would like to start with. We chose a couple of different Turkish yoghurts (spinach, red peppers), an eggplant puree, some mussels in a sauce (the only unsuccessful dish of the night), rice-stuffed green peppers, and a fried spicey couscous ball, followed by a beautiful green salad with the best balsamic viniagrette we've had in a long time. Then, when we were thoroughly stuffed, came the fish dishes--a beautiful white fish baked in an egg batter with cheese and light cream sauce (kind of tasted like chile rellenos to me, though John thought that was stretching it), and a mixed calamari/shrimp/round couscous dish seasoned with cumin. Delicious! We may try that place again before we leave Kas.
Overlooking Kekova Island

Tuesday we head inland for a few days in Cappadocia, one of the highlights of anyone's tour of Turkey. Though it will be hard to leave the coast, we'll deprive ourselves of the sea for a few days for the sake of seeing what there is on the other side of the mountain.

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