Day Eight: Amasya into Tokat

I’m sitting here, typing, and Allah-Allah, do my feet stink. It was a sweaty day wearing shoes that trapped the odors quite ably. You know what I could use, right?

No, no, no. Not a face cover! My nose would still be catching funky whiffs, even through the protective barrier.


Rather, I need a rousing round of this:

The day started with some sweating, when Kirsten and I headed out for our respective runs. I figured out a nice route (whew!) through the city and to the outer edges and then, upon return to our hotel, I was given breakfast and the opportunity to try out the hostess’ personal fitness equipment. It would seem Turkey has the equivalent of a Home Shopping Network…because I don’t know where else she’d have bought a piece of do-nothing equipment whose sole purpose is to collect dust in a corner. Obligingly, though, I dropped onto her ab crunching machine and let its forceful springs push me back up every time I laid it down. Clearly, clearly, the machine doesn’t whittle one’s abs down to nothing.

I’d need a surgeon to achieve that miracle.

The hostess was quite convinced I was getting the workout of my life, however, so I vamped it up.

And you know how I like to vamp next to a samovar:

Thus, before mid-morning, I’d broken a sweat from running, crunching my abs, and feigning exertion in two languages.

Ready to escape fitness camp, we four trooped out to explore Amasya.

Pontic cliff tomb
Restored Ottoman houses, much like our hotel.


Our first stop was at a refurbished Ottoman house, now a museum:

Y’all know how I feel about the mannequins, right? This house museum was a dream come true.

Traditional eating during Ottoman times (roughly 1300-1924, by the way) had people sitting on cushions on the floor and then draping a table cloth over their laps. This made for ease of clean-up, as the table cloth was gathered up and shaken out at the end of each meal. Unless Uncle Murat had passed out on top of it again in a bulgur stupor.
In the basement of the Ottoman house museum is a fine arts space, currently featuring the photos of this photographer. She let me take her photo but kept restaging it until I took one she approved of. I am delighted to say she approved the one that has a pair of butterfly wings growing out of her skull.


Post Ottoman house, we headed up the mountain to see the rock tombs of Pontic kings:

Those tombs are way the hell up there. Virginia proved her statement of “I’m feeling much younger on this trip than I had been back home” by rockstarring her way up the steep and lengthy climb.


Little-known fact: roosters are fond of Pontic kings.


You know what all that climbing around the mountainside did? Made me hecka sweaty, in a way that took me back, sensorily, to nearly all of our year living in this country. That sticky, gummy sweat was full-on memory.

The only way to recover from a hard climb is to spend an hour in a temperate museum, yes? We went to the ethnographic museum to find some shade and, hopefully some more mannequins. Sure, there were a few, but they lacked the panache of those in the Ottoman House. Good thing the rest of the museum was full of arresting and unique-feeling pieces.

This head ranks right up there in my Annals of Favorite Artifacts.
See how they had to put gold leaf over the eye sockets to prevent me from turning this into a piggy bank/gumball machine?
This is a family genealogy, Ottoman-style. Byron and I love it, love it, love it.
A close-up of the family connections
The thing about the mannequins in this museum is that…
…they’re all gay. I just wanted to put them in a glass display room all together and turn on “I Will Survive.” Speaking of artifacts.


Once we left the club, er, museum, it was back out to the street.

This woman exemplifies typical modern day wear for the majority of Turkish women.


By this point, it was mid-afternoon, so we hopped in the car and continued on our touring loop of cities. A long detour to see the city of Zile was okay, but we’d been told all the houses there inexplicably lean at dramatic angles. However, when we got to Zile, everything was upright and posture perfect. This makes me strongly suspect our friend Ruth, who gave us the tip about the city, was drunk while she was there.

Fortunately, the Zile drive was beautiful, and eventually we got to tonight’s city, Tokat, most famed for its kebap. We sought one out for Byron and Virginia to share (my “welcome back to Turkey” guts are keeping me on soup and rice these days, not to mention the fact that I don’t like lamb).

Lamb on eggplant and potatoes with roasted tomato sauce on bread with roasted garlic = Tokat Kebap.


After dinner? A stop at the baklava shop.

How many Turkish men does it take to place six pieces of baklava into a box?





5 responses to “Day Eight: Amasya into Tokat”

  1. kmkat Avatar

    My gosh, you write the BEST travelogues. Abluters galore, a photographer’s head sprouting butterfly wings — superb.

    I forgot to say how stunning the lit-up-at-night stone houses were in a previous post. In this post, I was waiting for you to remark that the tablecloth was actually a flying carpet — that’s what I saw when I first looked at the photo.

  2. chlost Avatar

    Photographic/political genius, you….giving a female Turkish photographer butterfly wings on her head.
    Loved this chapter of your story. All of that climbing. I think I am sweating more than all of you, just looking at the photos. But worth it for gay mannequins, eh?
    Oh, yeah, and that kebap looks and sounds wonderful. I’ll take your share. And just a small piece of baklava as well.

  3. lime Avatar

    i cannot quite get over the photographer approving butterfly wings sprouting from her cranium. the family tree is indeed a groovy little artifact.

  4. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar

    The shrunken head has me thinking “Beetlejuice!”
    ANYWAY. Your commentary just cracks me up. The gay mannequins. The baklava crew. The stinky feet. I wish I could travel with you IRL.

  5. Meg Avatar

    Mmmm. Dinner on a flying carpet; skulls with gold leaf; shrunken heads. You are having so much fun! I am working on family genealogy at the moment and I love the “bubbles of degrees to Kevin Bacon” method. Aesthetically pleasing, yet informative.

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