Our Saturday began with a drizzly walk to Van Kahvaltı Evi, where we were greeted with smiles and much warmth, after our last visit's sketching incident— even our favourite stoic waiter grinned, and shook our hands. We dined on menemen with sucuk, a spinach gözleme, cevizli çemen, and the heavenly combination of honey and kaymak.
We strolled down Istiklal Caddesi, hopping in and out of bookstores, spying on books we plan to save up for (a particular brick of a book about the Neolithic era in Western Turkey has caught my eye), then treated ourselves to gelato and a rickety ride on the Nostaljik Tramvay, back up to Taksim. Not ready to go home yet, the idea of a tea at Leman Kültür Café, home to the cartoonists of Turkey's subversive Penguen and Leman comics, was deeply appealing.
As we got lost in sketches and conversation, our paints and pencils spread across two tables, a curious man with a silvery beard and a smile came over to inquire about our drawings. He sat down and leafed through our sketchbooks, asking us where we were from, what we are doing in Istanbul, and how we learned of the café. While attempting to explain how I had once met one of Leman's cartoonists in Karaköy, who encouraged me to come by for a tea, my Turkish failed me and our waiter came over to translate.
The man left us with a grin, and a drawing in the back of my sketchbook.