The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
The Kalkan Market

The Route Thursday is market day in Kalkan. As those who have followed our previous trips know, we are big fans of the local street markets. These have been the way of life on this side of the pond forever. Merchants come into a town, usually once a week, set up in a parking lot or along the streets and sell their wares. Particularly in the smaller outlying towns, the weekly market was where the locals did their shopping in the days before ready transportation, supermarkets and shopping centers.

Some of the markets in France and Italy can be specialized -- mostly clothing or household items or food -- but the majority seem to offer a bit of everything. Today was our first experience with a Turkish market and we had no idea what to expect ... other than an experience.

Although they call it market day, the event itself is called a bazaar. Go figure. In Kalkan it was an easy walk from our apartment, so after a late breakfast/early lunch, we waded into the crowd to see what it was all about. The bazaar was set along one of the residential streets in town, so was very long and narrow. Like the crowds at Ephesus, this funneled all the traffic down a central passageway. That was good for the merchants but made it a bit like fighting your way down the aisles of a trade show.

Fortunately, the entire area was covered with huge white tarps, protecting everyone from the direct sun and providing a tent-like feel to it. The Kalkan market had LOTS of clothing, jewelry, leather goods, shoes, bootleg CDs and typical tourist treasures. A side section (normally a parking lot) held household goods, produce and food trucks with meats and cheeses. Most of the "designer" labels in the bazaar are fakes, of course but the quality can be comparable to the originals as many of the legitimate products come out of Turkish factories to begin with.

We stopped at Ata Mezze Grill for a late breakfast for Margene, an early lunch for me. The food was nothing exceptional but the atmosphere under the umbrellas was pleasant. In addition to tables they also had several lounge-like areas with couches and chairs around a low coffee table. Could be a nice place for a cold beer in the early evening.

Arlo Guthrie used to sing that you can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant ... and you can pretty much get anything you want at the Kalkan bazaar. In Margene's case, that will forever be scarves! She must have checked out every stall in the place, but finally settled on a couple she liked and with a bit of haggling (it is expected!) claimed her treasures.

Even though the day was not particularly hot and we were protected from the sun, I found my body temperature rising, so we finally called it quits, stopped fighting the crowds, and headed for home to regroup and relax, bearing our scarves and some lovely produce.

Once Margene gets back to the apartment she doesn't want to leave, but I will have to talk her into an evening excursion down into the old town for dinner at least once before we leave. I suspect that is where we will find the magic.

[Itinerary Page]

© 2013 Restaurant Doctor