WILL SHE BE ABOARD? SHE HAS TO BE.
On every voyage, no matter how small, you need a traveling companion to keep you warm. I fell in love with mine on my first vapur crossing in Istanbul. Her name is Camellia, Camellia Sinensis. You may also know her as tea. Don’t get me wrong, a piping hot cup of coffee is a beautiful experience, but when I board a vapur, she pales by comparison. I’ll drop my cup of coffee in a second.
CROSSING THE THRESHOLD … WILL SHE BE THE SAME?
I read recently that tea only became the drink of choice in the twilight hours of the Ottoman Empire, and that, not surprisingly, Turkish Coffee was favored until the Yemeni province of the Empire got uppity, or simply out of reach because of World War I … but don’t quote me on this because I can’t recall the source.
IT’S A LONELY PASSAGE WITHOUT CAMELLIA.
Regardless, the experience of Turkish tea is unique. Not only is the taste distinct, but the vessel in which it arrives also makes it a singular experience. It’s changed the way I drink tea forever. Like the vapur, there’s something timeless about its outline, its shape and the ruby-colored liquid it contains. Narrowing in the middle like a woman’s waist, you can clutch it while the wind buffets your face and stay warm. The drink and the glass are as iconic as just about anything else you’ll find in Turkey.
CAMELLIA? CAMELLIA? NO …
Drinking tea in china or porcelain just won’t do anymore. Like coffee in a paper cup, it doesn’t take you on a truly satisfying journey. Some people like it darker, some people lighter, but you’ll get odd looks if you want to cloud it with milk. Sometimes the tea is bitter, which is why many people plunk a couple of sugar cubes. But I find that the tea served aboard a vapur is usually quite fresh, so it never has time to stew.
In any case, the experience of a good glass of hot Turkish tea aboard the ferry has never let me down. It’s always there, and like the Bosporus or a rounded cupola it’s one of Turkey’s greatest beauties. Have you experienced it?