An interesting thing about Berlin is that there is a large Turkish population, primarily in the Kreuzberg and Neukölln neighbourhoods. Walk down Karl Marx Str. and you’ll see women wearing head scarves, men smoking hookahs, and the latest in Turkish fashion spilling out of store fronts. The best part about the Turkish areas? The Turkish markets.
Today was a lazy Tuesday. Wilson and I slept in until noon, grabbed some snacks from the bakery, and headed out to Treptower Park. Aside from a lone swan, there wasn’t too much happening, though. Visiting our friend Djamila sounded like much more fun.
Until today, I had never met Djamila. She’s a friend of Wilson. He always told me she was part Turkish and part German, but I didn’t think she looked Turkish when I met her. Wilson made a couple of Turkish references to her, including a joke about why she wasn’t wearing a head scarf. Finally, she turned to him and said, “Wilson! I’m not Turkish. I’m Algerian!” Oops.
Djamila did, however, take us to the largest Turkish market in Berlin. I love the Turkish people for many things, and their food is at the top of the list. Tables of licorice, Turkish Delight, pastries, pita bread, cheeses, tea, dates, olives, nuts, and various pickled vegetables, among other delicacies, lined the market from one end to the other. Yum. The only thing I didn't really want to eat was the octopus, but can you blame me?
There were also stalls that featured fabrics, jewelery, and clothes. I was hunting for a veil, which I needed for upcoming choreography in the dance company, but was out of luck. Veils were the one thing the market didn’t have. I did find a hot pink belly dance costume, but then decided that looking like a pink flamingo is not my style.
This particular Turkish market, which is open on Tuesday and Friday, is situated alongside the canal at Maybachufer Str. After meandering through the stalls, gorging on fresh corn on the cob, and listening to a jazz ensemble that was busking on the sidewalk, we took a stroll along the banks of the canal. I spotted a swan and pointed it out to Wilson and Djamila. And then we spotted another swan and another and another until we stumbled upon a whole swan gang. And I say gang because they were hustling like you wouldn’t believe. You think seagulls are aggressive when they want food? Wait until you see a three foot tall swan hissing at you while charging with its wings spread. You best be giving that swan some food or you’re in trouble! But I can’t really fault them. It’s not like they can go into the Turkish market and buy all that delicious food themselves.