Turkey Day 4: First Christmas dinner at Bergama

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

My knees always take the worst of sitting down for too long in a single position. In planes. In long night bus rides. After hours of trying to stretch my legs as much as possible in the cramped position, we finally made our way to our destination. Bergama, a town of approximately 60 000 inhabitants. In summer the small streets of the town is supposedly ridden with tourists, but this being winter (unbelievable, given the mild weather), we seemed to be the only foreigners about. The men at the local teashops stared at us. There are only ever men in public cafes in Turkey, never any women.

Knock, knock. Could we please have a look around? We unwittingly cut short the morning slumbers of the owners, but in the end found a lovely pension for the night. The chosen pension Athea is run by a lovely man named Iden. Beyond the courtyard a keyhole archway wall opens onto a spacious garden and a separate dining/sitting room/kitchen bathed in sunlight through its glass walls. The most pitiful looking white kitten makes the most of the warmth in its entrance. 

Four young North Americans greeted us in the dining room, and invited us for dinner on the same night. Would 5 or 6 be okay for an early Christmas dinner? That's early in a double sense.  It was two days before Christmas and the French never has dinner before 8pm. But of course we said yes. They were a friendly bunch, and an interesting group. Two were a couple cycling around the world, with no set plans on where they'd be pitching their tent each night, or what kind of animals or small kids would be chasing after their trails. They were travelling briefly off their two wheels while their friend and brother visited. The sun had set and the dark envelopped the dining room by the time we arrived with our special Christmas champagne and French food.  The room had transformed into a welcoming candle lit space, the air bathed in Christmas songs, and the centre table heavy with aperitifs, lemon chicken bake, fresh vege salad, pasta, mashed potatoes, and desserts. The apple pie especially was a total success. We were still bringing up how delicious it had been, for days afterwards. Along with how we would also like to take off on a world tour on our bikes soon. 

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