As those of you who’ve been with me for a while already know, these last few months have constituted my first winter in Turkey! I was very excited to see what the cold months were like (since my previous Turkey experience had been a summer trip in 2011). Now that the temperatures are suitably warm (mid 70s/low 80s) I feel that it is an appropriate time to summarize my thoughts on winters in Turkey.
Let me start by saying… Winter isn’t very Turkish in my opinion.
Uh, how can a country be anything other than what it is?
Well, like I said before… My first (and at the time, only) experience in Turkey before had been during the summer. For that reason, Turkey translated to:
The smell of the ocean
Watermelon and white cheese
Late nights spent with family/friends
Picnics and day trips
Midye and mangal
Windows and balcony doors open wide
Snatching figs off trees when no one is looking
And of course, none of these things happen during the winter. It’s simply too cold. I couldn’t even pick up the ocean smell from the window until the weather warmed up recently. However, there are other winter things that are unique to Turkey. Honestly, it’s kind of a mixed bag.
First off, here in Izmir, we only saw a flurry of snow twice. Nothing that lasted longer than five minutes though. Sure, it snowed in the mountains and stuff, but nothing I was able to enjoy. It’s kind of ironic, actually. The thing I love most about Turkish summers (a lack of rain), translates to a lack of something I would have liked to see (snow).
But even without the snow, it got pretty chilly! With a lack of central heating, we were limited to the soba (coal furnace). I’m pretty sure I shared that with you guys earlier. While the toasty warm room was a delight, the freeze-your-buns-off temperature in the rest of the house (including our bedroom and the bathroom) made daily life a bit uncomfortable. Hello two layers of long-johns under sweatpants. We didn’t go anywhere or do much of anything because it was so cold (and my in laws kept getting sick). It’s just not the season for activity.
Eating new things was fun! I enjoyed roasting chestnuts on the top of the soba. Greens like spinach and roots like celeriac were plentiful and I enjoy them immensely. But there’s nothing that compares to summer foods like roasted eggplant and fresh green beans…
So… I think it’s fair to say that winter is not my favorite season (but it never was, anyway). It’s nice to not sweat your brains out, but you miss out on so many fun things when the weather is too cold!
Helloooo spring/summer!! I’m ready for you!