The Turkish sure do love their tea. I don’t think love is even a strong enough word. Adore. Worship? Everywhere you go, you will see Turks sipping on cups of tea, served in beautiful tulip-shaped glass cups so that one can admire the hue of the tea. There is no situation in which drinking tea is unacceptable. Indeed, Turkey has become the number one consumer of tea per capita in all of the world, even surpassing China and England.
In every corner of the city, locals gather to relax and socialise in tea houses, perhaps playing a few games of backgammon or smoking nargile (Turkish water pipe used to smoke flavoured tobacco). In the late afternoon after a huge day of sightseeing, we stumbled upon a beautiful tea house in a shady, cobblestoned courtyard in the Beyoglu district that was filled entirely with locals and devoid of tourists. Perfect.
We sat on tiny wooden stools arranged around a similarly miniature wooden table and we ordered tea. And then some more. And then some baklava. And we watched the men play backgammon and we breathed in the nargile smoke that slowly wafted through the open windows. And it was all so lovely.
Stumbling upon hidden gems like this is so special. What perfect little local hangouts have you discovered on your travels?