Wednesday, 30 September 2009

From Bursa on Wednesday

First, our thanks to the Belediye of Bursa for a day of visiting in style all the major Ottoman buildings and tombs, for lunching us at the Bursa Kebabcisi in Tophane and staying late so we could check in with the rahvan-cis. Without Isik Bey and Aziz Bey of Osmangazi Municipality, and the transport, we would have been lost. We also visited the ethnographic collections of Esat Uluumay, former international dressage and showjumping judge, which is housed in a medrese far too small to accommodate the rich collection. Among his treasures are a number of saddles, each more uncomfortable-looking than the last. Not to mention a couple of bits of horrifying aspect. The collection of traditional costumes, each one revolving, allowed us to scrutinise the remarkable details of workmanship from every angle. Every part of the Ottoman empire was represented.

We must also thank the Bosniac community of Shukraniye, the Cilek company, and our immediate hosts for hospitality on the ranch where the horses are enjoying their stay in the sand school. We have thoroughly enjoyed the kindness of our hostess in particular.
Tomorrow--Thursday--we may or may not meet the ranch's owner, and we will not be able to stay until the weekend to meet the president of Bosnia, unfortunately. We must pack up and leave for the hills (or are they mountains?).

Over to Caroline:
Our day in Bursa and the nights at the ranch were a pleasant antidote to being suspects in a couple of sheep-rustling cases which the local gendarmes had set themselves to solve, what with kurban bayrami coming up soon. The first team were kindly and indeed one fancied himself a horseman, with his superior who had done some years in New Jersey, but word of our adventure had clearly not filtered through from the Ministry of Culture to the various fields where we slept, and the other lot dragged us out of a warm sleeping bag at midnight with questions as to our purpose. Only doing their job in a quiet neck of the woods, and 'our firmans from Constantinople', as Fellows of Xanthos fame, or infamy, wrote in the 1830s, did their work.
Such entertainments apart, we are smiling all the way as we and our noble steeds negotiate all manner of terrain and vegetation in our quest to tread where our hero Evliya trod--or rather, rode.

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