Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Before we returned to our home in Beşiktaş, we spent an afternoon trekking through Belgrade Forest with our friends' friendly dog.

Hubby had last Thursday (August 30) off from work since it was a holiday - Zafer Bayramı. This holiday, also known as Victory Day, commemorates the victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar, one of the final battles and the most decisive one in the 1922 Turkish War of Independence.

We decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and get some exercise in the beautiful Belgrade Forest. I think it's been over a year since we've been to the forest, according to my last blog post.
Belgrade Forest, with it's lush green landscape, seems like a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul.
Belgrade Forest is difficult to reach without your own car. And even then, the weekend Istanbul traffic is usually horrendous, so we rarely drive, which is why we haven't been in a long time. 

But if you do make the effort, you will be rewarded with a pleasant walk around a large lake that used to supply water to Sultanahmet and the surrounding old areas of Istanbul. The 6-1/2 kilometer trail has even been updated - no more potholes!
Apparently, the new trail was sponsored by Firatpen, a local building company, as seen by this sign.
Jason took the dog for a stroll near the lake. For such a big dog, she was scared of the water.
After we walked about halfway around the lake, we found a cozy nook for a picnic lunch that I had packed. I've been craving BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato) sandwiches because the Turkish tomatoes have been incredibly delicious this summer. BLTs are such an American part of summer.

But I was missing one key ingredient - bacon! 

My freezer stash of my beloved pork is quite low so I made a pit stop at a Macro Center - Istanbul's version of a Whole Foods. I plunked down 12.50 tl  (almost $7 USD) for a measly 125 gram-package of Greek bacon. This is how badly I wanted a BLT!
As you can see, we enjoyed our BLTs with a light sauvignon blanc Turkish wine.
BTW, we assume drinking in the forest is frowned upon so we kept the bottle of wine
stashed in our backpack.
Actually, our BLT's were more like BRTs with Turkish roka (arugula) making a great substitute for lettuce. The sandwiches were a welcome summer treat!

We enjoyed the natural landscape of the forest and the fresh air for 3 hours or so before we headed back to the city. This was definitely a good way to spend the bayram together!

Belgrade Forest can be reached by public buses heading to Bahçeköy, such as 42T from Taksim and 153 from Sariyer. After the last bus stop, it's a short walk to the forest's entrance.
You'll even find some pretty wildflowers around the lake in Belgrade Forest.
This tree mushroom was hard as a rock, but I thought it would make a cool photo.

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BacktoBodrum said...

That's an expensive BRT - but perfect setting to enjoy it.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

21 RTSearhahaha...blt withdrawal i can easily imagine it. the forest is beautiful.

Joy said...

@BacktoBodrum, a little bit, yes! But that's the price to pay to have a little porky goodness now and then.

@Joyce, thanks! Well, at least I'll get my fill up on pork in the US again later in October. :-)

Becca Ramspott said...

Yum, I almost wonder if arugula would be better than regular lettuce. It's got such a nice bitterness to it. Now I need to try it! ; ) Nice post. I love the forest picture, in particular.

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

What a nice outing from the look of it, Joy. And that is a beautiful one!

Joy said...

@Becca, yes, Jason and I both liked the roka much better than boring lettuce. Nice and peppery! I highly recommend it while you can still get some summer tomatoes. :-)

@Andrew, thank you! I was very happy with the first forest photo in this post. The depth, the light - and I didn't realize it at the time. Nice escape from the city.

Jana ★ said...

What a beautifual place, wow!!
Thanls for sharing with all of us :D
Un besito

Karen said...

Yes, better to have pork now and then in Istanbul then to go on a pork binge once back home. Another great place to get a BLT, if eating out, is Kahveden in Cihangir. So delicious! Great photos, Joy.