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My Silk Road The Piglet stumbles across the continent

76 - "Huzun" in Istanbul

TURKEY | Monday, 31 Dec 2012 | Views [485]

As has been my habit, before and during my time in a country, I read books about that country. Not just guidebooks - these I read long before I landed, but books by local authors and books by ancient travellers to that country, to get a feel for ... Read more >


75 - Istanbul Bests - best mezzes

TURKEY | Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012 | Views [1210]

Turkish cuisine is predicated on enjoying a variety of mezzes before one arrives at the main course.  In fact, there are plenty of “meyhan” which serve mezzes and raki as the main attraction.  I enjoyed the most inventive and best ... Read more >


74 - Istanbul Bests - best fish

TURKEY | Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012 | Views [779]

Winter in Istanbul is the season for certain types of fish – specifically, hamsi (a type of anchovy) and lufer (bluefish).  Not only in the fish markets, but also in everyday conversation, Istanbulites talk about hamsi and lufer just as Italians ... Read more >


73 - Istanbul Bests - best fast food

TURKEY | Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012 | Views [287]

I'm now starting a few short blurbs on my culinary explorations in Istanbul.  After all, for those of you who know me, food has been as much a focal point of the journey as has more cerebral pursuits.  In fact, one of the highlights of ... Read more >


72 - The beard of the Prophet...

TURKEY | Monday, 10 Dec 2012 | Views [909]

I have always been fascinated by the preserved bits and bobs of holy people or sacred events.  There is something very Indiana Jones about them.  Like the Ark of the Covenant which is said to be in Ethiopia.  (And maybe ... Read more >


71 - "I saw many people, no clothes on..."

TURKEY | Thursday, 6 Dec 2012 | Views [948]

"Nice dress, I saw no people inside".  This is a saying from Mevlana Jelaleddin, who crystallized the beliefs of Sufism centuries ago.  And of course, it is even more relevant these days with the polarised consumer societies ... Read more >


70 - Aksaray - back on the Silk Road

TURKEY | Wednesday, 5 Dec 2012 | Views [387]

Leaving Cappadocia at 7am, I felt a guilty relief as we set off to Konya.  Have had enough of Cappadocia.  Although pleasant, it was just not my scene (see previous blog).  Enroute to Konya, we passed through Aksaray which has a very ... Read more >


69 - Cappadocia... usual usual

TURKEY | Tuesday, 4 Dec 2012 | Views [297]

Yes, of course, Cappadocia has an amazing and unusual landscape.  It's like a strange fairyland full of dwellings for dwarves and trolls.  Volcanic activity thousands of years ago have resulted in giant hills that resemble ... Read more >


68 - Home-cooking in Cappadocia

TURKEY | Sunday, 2 Dec 2012 | Views [469]

Although a detour off the old Silk Route, I felt a visit to Cappadocia was a must.  It is more or less midway between Kayseri and Konya (well, not quite midway in a straight line) and therefore a logical stop, not to mention well known for its unusual ... Read more >


67 - Onwards and inland - "pizza" at Kayseri

TURKEY | Friday, 30 Nov 2012 | Views [439]

Modern tourists don't often pause at Kayseri but it was a major stop on the old trading route.  Like Antioch, it was first a Roman metropolis which then became Christian, but Kayseri then fell to the Seljuks (13thC rulers who respected the ... Read more >


66 - Walking in the ancient water tunnel at Seleucia Pieria

TURKEY | Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 | Views [918]

Seleucia Pieria is a seaside city about an hour's drive away from Antioch, right on the Mediterranean coast.  It was founded after the death of Alexander the Great by one of his generals, Selecus Nicator.  On the way from Antioch, one ... Read more >


65 - Antioch - Roman, Christian and Islamic past

TURKEY | Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 | Views [630]

Antioch is a charming town at the southern coast of Turkey just a couple of hours’ drive away from Aleppo in Syria.   It is well-known as the place from where Christianity was first preached and spread by Paul and other disciples. ... Read more >


64 - A sweet start to Anatolia

TURKEY | Monday, 26 Nov 2012 | Views [357]

My first stop in Turkey is Antakya, better known as Antioch.  But before I get to the sights of Antioch, the highlight so far has been the food of Turkey.  No surprise.  If, to date, China has shown the most variety and complexity ... Read more >


63 - Tehran Déjà vu

IRAN | Monday, 26 Nov 2012 | Views [313]

I first visited Tehran in 2009 just before the Green Revolution.  I am staying again next to Laleh Park which is in a pleasant and serene part of town, a short walk from Tehran University, the site of both pro-Khomeini demonstrations ... Read more >


62 - Casual meals in Iran - a chapter on "dizi" and other stews

IRAN | Saturday, 24 Nov 2012 | Views [525]

Stews feature heavily in Iranian daily cuisine.  I’ve found that they can be relatively light and almost watery, or heavy with lots of meat and potatoes.  The light stews seem to be generically called “khoresht”... Read more >


61 - Imperial legacy at Kermanshah

IRAN | Friday, 23 Nov 2012 | Views [457]

Kermanshah is the largest Iranian city that is closest to the Iraq border and about two and a half hours west of Hamedan.   On the way to Kermanshah are two important “Rosetta Stone” sites which permitted modern archaelogists ... Read more >


60 - An ancient capital in Hamedan

IRAN | Saturday, 17 Nov 2012 | Views [726]

Hamedan does not boast of the dazzling architecture and design of the other cities that I’ve visited, but it does have the archaeological site of Hagmateneh which is said to date back to at least 8thC BC, pre-Alexander the Great –... Read more >


59 - Casual meals in Iran - kebab chapter

IRAN | Friday, 16 Nov 2012 | Views [814]

Casual meals in Iran have so far consisted of various types of kebabs with rice (“chelo kebab”): Soltani kebab, Bakhtieri kebab, “Caucasian” kebab etc.  All this merely denotes various versions of lamb and chicken kebabs.... Read more >


58 - The nouveau riche in Kashan

IRAN | Friday, 16 Nov 2012 | Views [575]

Even in the 19thC, the rich in Kashan were building fancy temples to their wealth.  There are four well-preserved 19thC traditional houses in Kashan that are worth visiting.  Two of them were built by rich traders and the other two were governors’... Read more >


57 - The royal paradise in Kashan

IRAN | Friday, 16 Nov 2012 | Views [427]

Driving further south, I reach Kashan, well known for its roses and rosewater.  But now is not the season, alas, though dried roses and rosewater can still be bought everywhere.   Persians enjoy putting dried roses in their tea or stirring ... Read more >


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