Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 27: Hanging with the Newlyweds in Istanbul

Having been woken up about 6am seeing I am staying near a mosque, I had brekkie and tried to do a quick walk around where I am staying. However, with the rabbit warren system of roads I found it very hard to get my bearings so ended up going back before I got lost. Brad and Seda turned up with some of Seda’s mums cooking (hmm, walnuts and pastry) before we headed out for the day. Getting a map and seeing a Turkish cemetery before going through the Grand and Spice Bazaars (along the way meeting up with Brad and Seda brother in law, eating Turkish Viagra, a pretzel like baked good and a nut and toffee like snack that tasted like caramelized popcorn), went through a mosque near the spice market known for its tiling (and where I strangely saw a grandfather clock in), and then headed up towards where Seda’s family live to see a castle before deciding it was beer o’clock and going to a place called Taps which Brad has found at least some selection of beers available. Brad went the Marzen (red lager) and Seda had the Rauch(smoke)lager, whereas I did the sampler which had these two plus a Pilsner and a standard Lager. I wished they had the Chocolate Stout and Stout they also showed on the menu but only brought out in winter. Still, my pick was the smoke beer. Nothing like the intensity of the one I had at the Local Taphouse in Melbourne, but just a nice smoky flavour to make the beer very interesting. The Marzen had a bit more depth but didn’t really standout apart from the caramel that started to come out as it warmed. The Pils was okay with a nice refreshing start before the hops slowly rose towards the back of the palate, whereas the Lager just didn’t have anything going on, even for a lager. All the beers seemed to come at a decent temperature and seemed quite fresh with nice creamy heads and good body to them. While they do say it is a brewery as well, I am not sure, but the beers do seem to show they are made nearby. Seda did ask about the chocolate stout, and was later sent a text saying it would be available in 2 months, so hopefully they get to try it for me before they come to Australia.

Walking further round the coast road we stopped for an ice cream (Seda has been going there all her life, and can remember the guy serving us also being there that long), and my caramel, almond and honey with choc coating and nuts on a sugar waffle cone went down a treat, and great for the warm weather we had. We stopped at a supermarket and got some more beers before going to the park where the boat they used for their wedding was moored, so sat on the grass, and relived their wedding day in front of ‘Matilda’, while drinking Gusta Standard, Gusta Dark Dunkel and the Efes Dark Brown I had had the night before. The Gusta wheat beers were quite well rounded in flavour, and was quite impressed by the Dunkel. They tasted like beer, which is better than what I can say about some german dunkels, and noticed a bubblegum flavour start to come out of the standard Gusta to give it more authenticity. It has become another favourite moment for this trip just to sit there with a beer and chat about life, and allowed me to feel a little bit like I had been there for their wedding day 2 months ago.

Heading back to my part of town we found a place for dinner and was able to pull out another bottle of J.J. Prum to share with them. Not so much acidity on the back palate, and more fruity than the sherberty residue sugar taste that seems to come from older vintages. Still, gave me a chance to share this different wine with more people.

So a very pleasant day all round and looking forward to my last full day in Istanbul to see more sights and hang out with the cute couple.

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