Sunday, April 6, 2014

To and From (and In) Pamukkale

When planning our trip to Pamukkale we came up with the idea to get an early start and then stop after an hour or so for breakfast and to break up the trip.  We had planned to stop at a little place on the side of the road... and what we ended up stopping at was FAR from little and simple!
We pulled into a place as we were leaving one town because we were afraid we were going to miss our opportunity to stop and we saw other cars pulling in to the parking lot so we knew they were opened for business.  When we walked in, it looked like a birthday/ wedding reception.  We were shocked.  With our limited communication skills between us and the staff they someone communicated that we could stay.  A young lady saw us struggling and came over to help.  I said,' this looks like a fancy catered event that you have to have reservations for.  She said, "Yes, it is.  But, you can stay."  "How do we order?", I asked.  She said they just bring you a set menu.
After a little debating what to do, we decided to stay.  It was perfect!  They had a playscape for the kids to play on while we waited for food and while we filled our bellies to finish everything they brought!  It started with cold set-ups like we've seen for the traditional Turkish breakfast, then they brought breads and dips,and then hot set-ups.  The food kept coming!  It was all amazing and we are SO glad we stopped!!!
In Pamukkale, we decided to walk around and find a place to eat before heading out.  Turns out the place that was listed in Nina's book as a hot spot wasn't really what we were looking for so we stopped at this hip place and enjoyed a dark Efes!
We had been searching for the dark brew since hearing about it in Istanbul and we finally found it!

Ok, so "when in Rome".... we just HAD to try the shisha!!!  Or Hookah
We had told Opa and Nina about it and this place seemed like the perfect place to give it a go.  The kids really got into helping us, although they thought we were drinking something and not smoking something.
Addyson helping Nina give it a try!

Ahhhh, family time!!!!  THIS my friends is what this journey is ALL about!
Making it look like she is a professional! : )
A very popular thing in this area is women selling this filled bread that they cook on a hot stone right in front of them.
They roll out the dough, put a filling in it, fold it in half, and then place it on the grill.
The kids were very impressed and loved watching them.  A piece sells for about $1.
And as usual, there is NO shortage of Turkish ice cream and the silly guys that sell it!!!!
He put his hat on Addyson and pulled out the blob of vanilla on his stick for the kids to see!
On our way home we had the same plan, stop at some place an hour or so into the trip to break it up.  Again, we just pulled over at a place that looked "good" and it ended up being PERFECT!!!!  We were the ONLY foreigners in the place and it was packed with locals which was a good sign that the place was authentic!  To order you sides, you just pick them off of a cart that they roll around!
Then you get to pick your meat.  We had ordered lamb.  Owen and Brad were lucky and got a tour of the kitchen and saw them bringing in a lamb off of the grill and chopping it up!  Owen even got a sample!  This would never happen in the States!
His lamb is served!!!!
Chowing down!!!  Dinner was SO good!!!
To end the evening, we had a special traditional Turkish dessert!!!
It was SO good, Addyson licked the plate clean!!!!!
As we were leaving, we went and checked out their pits with the lambs on skewers.  It was really interesting to see the lambs at different stages in the grilling process!!!!!
Again, another wonderful day!  I think part of what made this day so special was that we were driving through little towns when we would stop to eat which meant we were eating amongst the locals and were able to have a real authentic experience!!!!  What wonderful memories we made today!

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