Home Turkey Weekend in Adana and Tarsus: Part 1

Weekend in Adana and Tarsus: Part 1

by Carmen McClelland

View of the Sabanci Mosque

 

I have officially had the best weekend of my time here in Turkey and I couldn’t have ever expected it. I have heard that the best experiences are the ones you don’t plan for, and now I understand, and agree. A few of my friends and I met with my friend Ata who asked us to come with him to visit his home and stay the weekend. We took him up on the offer and I couldn’t have been happier that we did. We landed late Friday night and the first thing we did at 2 o’clock in the morning when we arrived at their home was eat breakfast. It was a huge meal that consisted of all natural food from the farms close to Tarsus.

Me rolling sıkma

Me rolling sıkma

After we went to bed, we ate breakfast again in a few hours. It was another wonderful breakfast but this meal was even better. My friend and I woke up early and ended up helping prepare the meal. We made sıkma, which is a traditional breakfast food. Ata’s mom and aunt made it, while my friend and I watched, but then they asked if we wanted to help roll out the dough. Of course we took her up on the offer. It was such a treat to not only watch the food be made in such a traditional way but to also help out with it. I have officially made Turkish food. They had a fireplace on the roof where they cooked the bread and there was nothing like smelling the fresh sıkma on the rooftop while looking out to see the rest of Tarsus.

Trying the Adana kebab and şalgam

Trying the Adana kebab and şalgam

The magic continued as we went to Adana and saw Turkey’s biggest mosque: the Sabanci Mosque. It was beautiful inside, but I still think that the surrounding grounds really brought the magic to the mosque. At the end of the day we had an Adana kebab and it did not disappoint. I have had a few kebabs while I have been here and I had heard that the Adana kebab is a favorite, but eating it where it was invented really made it even better. I even tried a traditional drink from the area called şalgam. It is a drink made of spiced carrots and turnips. It isn’t the most appetizing drink because of how salty it is, but it felt like the appropriate drink to pair with my kebab.

When we finally ended up back at the home, there were many people there. We decided to play a game called hımbıl. It is very similar to spoons except you play with categories of your choosing. It started to get very competitive! There were children and adults all competing to have the most points and it was not unheard of to see someone glare at the person who gave them a card they didn’t need. A little bit of Turkish coffee accompanied the game and it made for a wonderful evening. After everyone left there was a fruit platter that was brought out and we just kept eating more. I don’t think I have ever been fed so well. It was the perfect ending to our first day in Adana.

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