Enjoying a cuppa at the Çinaraltı cafe on Bozcaada


The remains of a mastic-laced Turkish coffee – any bets on what my fortune was? (Image by Liz Cameron)

Nothing is more evocative of Turkey for me than the sound of tiny spoons clinking into glasses at a Çay bahçesi (i.e. tea garden or cafe).

The puppets sigh with hiraeth at this thought.  They do pine for home now that they are home from their sabbatical!

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/c31/25541592/files/2015/01/img_0424.jpgNothing feels more like coming home then finding a spot under the Çinar ağaç (chinar tree) in the central square of the village on Bozcaada.

Actually, it is more like a trapezoid, but whatever.  This is my favorite café in the world, there is no doubt in my mind about this.

While most people sip their tulip shaped glasses full of Çaykur brand tea, I favor two of the other drinks on the menu.


Island tea a.k.a. Ada çayı on Bozcaada (Image by Liz Cameron)

First, there is island tea – Ada çayı – which is an herbal tea that tastes somewhat like sage but has a lemony flowery essence.

I drink it with two sugars and a squeeze of lemon in a large glass fındık.

Second, there is mastic-laced Turkish coffee, served with a tiny mastic almond cookie.

Late at night, the café’s proprietor serves this with a cigarette and a shot of alcohol.


A bride chills out before (or after?) her nuptuals at the Çınaraltı cafe on Bozcaada (Image by Liz Cameron)

Open year-round, this café serves up locally – baked goods such as eggplant börek – my favorite.


Mastic-flavored Turkish coffee at the Çınaraltı cafe on Bozcaada/Tenedos (Image by Liz Cameron)

Enjoy a cuppa with the folks at Çınaraltı cafe any time of year!

Posted in Turkish destinations, Turkish Food!, Visits from the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak: A Turkish idiom for deep sadness

Today is my Dad’s birthday – he has been gone for three years – but I still  miss him.  Recently, I learned of a Turkish idiom that is used to express deep sadness.  Really, the Turks have an idiom for everything.

As the tears streamed down my face, Perihan Hanim, the fairy Godmother puppet came up and said “Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak.”  I knew it was something about the Black (Kara) Sea (deniz), but not much more.

Yehuda Rebbe, the sage elder puppet filled me in.  He said “If you owned a ship and it sank you would probably feel really sad about your loss. Turkish has an idiom that draws on this metaphor to express deep sadness. The expression is “Karadeniz’de gemileri batmak” which literally translates as to have one’s ships sunk in the Black Sea. It is generally used in questions, for example: ‘Çok üzgün görünüyorsun. Ne oldu? Karadeniz’de gemilerin mi battı?'”

For those of you who knew him, I think you might agree that my Dad would appreciate the boat metaphor! And now on to celebrating his life in a more positive manner!

Posted in Visits from the Karagöz puppets | 8 Comments

Başınız sağolsun: A Turkish idiom in honor of the Soma disaster’s anniversary

Relatives praying at the Soma cemetery – after the Soma mining disaster in 2014 (Image from CNN)

Last year was witness to the worst mining disaster in Turkish history…as we drove through the town of Soma last June, the memorial to the miners stood tall.

Black banners and flags flew off of a number of the terraces in the choc-a-bloc apartment buildings, and I imagined sad children and even sadder widows inside.

The little chorus of dancing lady puppets who inhabit my purse, well, they shivered and huddled together.  They are all orphans themselves, you see, sold to the Ottoman court as dancers years ago, so they know what it is to feel a deep sense of loss and sadness, and the madness that can come with it.

In honor of the people who died in the Soma disaster last year, this post introduces a Turkish idiom that the widows and children of the Soma miners may have heard a lot as of late – “başınız sağolsun.”

This idiom literally translates as “may your head be healthy.” Shared with people who have lost one of their relatives or friends, it is meant to offer condolences and wish wellbeing.

So, “Bu elim kazada sevdiklerini kaybeden tüm vatandaşlarımızın başı sağ olsun” or “May the heads of all our citizens who lost their close ones in this deplorable accident be healthy.”

So, may all of our heads be healthy today, but let us not forget.

Posted in Turkish Controversies, Turkish destinations, Visits from the Karagöz puppets | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment