Posted: 4/19/2012
Title: TURKISH DELIGHT

Blog:                                                                                                                         

     LOKUM, or Turkish Delight has been one of my favourite confectionaries for a long time, since I first visited Turkey 49 years ago. It's based on a gel of starch and sugar in small cubes with various varieties with hazelnuts, walnuts, rosewater, cinnamon, pistachios, coconut, figs, raisins, lemon, chocolate, pomegranate, and dusted with icing sugar. Bekir Effendi 'invented' it in 1776 in his Istanbul shop. It was brought to England in the late 18th Century.

      I set sail on The Aegean, a totally enclosed catamarran of Turkish Sealines which flew across the sea to nearby Bodrum,Turkey in less than an hour and after a quick entry at immigration I dragged my trolley bag along the waterfront to my hotel. Bodrum has grown from 32,000 to 120,000 in the last decade with big time tourism. It's on the south coast of the Bodrum Peninsula on the Gulf of Gokova. There is no political or religious extremism here on the Turquoise Coast and lots of prosperous second home owners.

      7th Century B.C. it was called Halicarnassus, and an ancient arena from that period is still there. the Mausoleum of Mausolus from the same period was one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. Alexander the Great was one of many conquerers as were The Knights Hospitalier Crusaders who erected the still standing Castle of St. Peter between the port and the cruise harbour, packed with an amazing number of ships of all sizes. In 1522 Suileman the Magnificent brought Ottoman rule for four centuries.

     Most famous vessels are the local Gulets, twin sailed wooden sailing boats now used for tourist charters, and equipped with engines and nice accommodations.

     Prices in Turkey are up to half the price in Greece which is also relatively cheap compared with the rest of Europe. I paid 21 euros at Hotel Atrium with nice rooms, a pool, beautiful trees and bushes and breakfast and buffet dinner included. In the town there is a huge selection of choices from kebab stands to small cafes and waterside bars and restaurants. The last night I found  a terrific restaurant in a narrow alley in Fisherman's Market Bazaar. Next door I pointed at a selection of fish, crabs, lobsters, mussels, shrimp, octopus and various fresh vegetables. I chose a shrimp concoction and and salad at Bodrum Trata Meyhanesi  at Carsi Sok No. 5 with help from Mesut, my waiter.

       We were entertained by a local troupe of musicians with traditional instruments, including baglama, kanun, zurna, darbuku. Later that night I found a harbourside reataurant for a beer and Chelsea v Barcelona with a commentary in Georgian from TV Tiblisi.

 

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