Out and about in Bursa

Buket took me to the main mosque in the center of Bursa. This was my first time in a predominantly Muslim country so many of the routines and traditions were interesting and fun to see since it is so foreign to my own culture. The call to prayer goes out over the city five times a day and is quite a site to watch people mobilize to head to their mosque and pray and go through the washing ritual in the fountains outside before entering. The whole thing is carpeted so when you enter, they give you a little plastic bag for your shoes. The patterns of carpet and tiles reflected amazing craftsmanship.

The main mosques are used to tourists so before you can go in, they provide you with a skirt to cover your legs, and a scarf to cover your hair and shoulders. Ergo, we look like weirdos:

We went to Bursa's famous silk market and then stopped in its plaza for a taste of super strong Turkish coffee. I just thought espresso was strong.

Cool little hipster coffee shop in the city center. As a friend recently commented about a different scenario, but still applies here, "It felt like you put on Instagram lenses when you walked in."

Wow, look at this type! Not sure what it says, but I think it might be a monument Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal), the man to lead Turkey into modernity by defeating the Ottomans and declaring it a republic. He even made them all switch from writing in their traditional script to the Roman letters we use. I can't imagine the response Americans would have if we were all of a sudden made to adopt a new alphabet by mandate. But they did, and have fully made their way into the modern world of commerce and industry. A great book about modern Turkish history is Birds Without Wings if you're looking for a savory novel.

Seafood district in Bursa:

Awesome market in the city center:

The vendors were nice and let me sample stuff. There were foods I had never tried nor seen. Below are some dates (I guess we have them in America, but I've never eaten a fresh one not in a fruit cake or something).

I've sung a song about going around the mulberry bush since I was a child, but I've never actually seen one. They were tasty little things, kind of like a raspberry, only softer, sweeter, and a lighter taste.

There were artichoke hearts floating in parsley water at many of the stands. And super cheap! They looked delicious.

Buket's favorite kebab restaurant with their unique style kebabs: