Asia

Today we are off to Asia! Even to jaded travellers, there is a certain frisson of excitement as you pass the huge suspension bridge over the Bosphorus and you see a sign “Welcome to Asia”! The start of a vast continent… a few hours driving and I could be in Vladivostok… But to Istanbulis this is everyday commuting, and the Asian suburbs of the city are the fastest growing in Turkey. So many live here that they have even built a new airport to serve the Asian side inhabitants.

We do the usual drive around customers and drink yet more tea! As we pass through the towns, I notice how many Turkish words have a French origin: kuaför = coiffeur, şöför = chauffeur, viadügü = viaduc. Could this have been inspired by the francophile Atatürk, who latinised the Turkish alphabet? Once you get the hang of the curious spellings, Turkish isn’t the obtuse language it seems!

K�fte Lunch at a small resort by the Marmara seaside. Our restaurant is a köftecisi – a köfte meatball restaurant called Kekik (translates as “oregano”). Köfte are wonderful things, and ideal for a light meal: I have a mixed köfte dish, featuring spicy Adana köfte, plain grilled köfte and cheese köfte (I assure you, an entirely different experience from a Cheese Whopper!!). A tomato and cucumber salad and a little portion of rice by the side. A Turkish coffee and I’m done!

More visits in the afternoon, usual mixture of large and small companies. In the evening, we move back towards the European side, crossing by the second suspension bridge over the Bosphorus. It’s getting a little late by the time we get back near the hotel, and I’m tired so we have a quick dinner at Dürümcü Baba in Yesilköy. The speciality here is dürüm, that can best be described as a Turkish fajita: tender chunks of grilled lamb wrapped up with salad in a flat bread. With a couple of slices of watermelon, this makes for a quick and tasty meal!

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