Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A little peek at our holiday.....

Hello!  It's me.  Ann.  We're still on our fortnight's summer break but we're back in the country and enjoying this amazing Scottish summer.  A little bit of work mixed with a little bit of play each day makes Ann a very happy woman.

Immediately after closing on Saturday the 6th of July, we headed off to the South of Turkey.  Unfortunately, we flew out during the Murray match (caught the first set at the airport).

Why Turkey when we'd already enjoyed a week in Istanbul in January.  BECAUSE MY ONLY DAUGHTER WAS GETTING MARRIED THERE!!!!!!!!!  Sorry but it was very exciting.

This post will be about food eventually.  However, as a proud mummy, I need to show you this
My daughter and new son and law on their wedding day

Ok.  Just one more....

Flower girls, my granddaughters Kaitlyn and her little sister Abbie
An amazing time was had by all - we were a large group and apart from the mad heat day and night, it was bloody perfect.

We then had a bit of an adventure.  We hired a car from a man called Abdullah and headed off into the mountains (the 'we' being, me, husband, sister and her husband).  I'd done a little bit of research, ie, where to go with a car.  I wanted mountains, winding roads and very local food, ie, not huge touristy places.  WE GOT ALL OF THAT.

We were heading for a village called Bucak┼čeyhler.  Suggested by a mountain cyclist from that area, it sounded ideal.  Just outside of Side where we were staying, we passed by and went in to the Manavgat Waterfall.  A little touristy but it was early in the day so probably quieter than usual.  Gorgeous views of the natural falls coming down.  
Alex and I at the waterfall.  The water on this top ledge has a constant overspill of the fall's waters and it was icy cold hence my feet resting on a pipe for the photo

The very lovely, Mr Rougvie, aka, master baker (soup and scone maker), grumpy and current husband at the waterfall.
Back in the car, we headed for our little village.  We drove around for a while and just didn't seem to find it.  Husband was driving and I was the chief back seat driver.  I had been demoted from navigator as that task had somehow been passed to my brother in law Chris.  My sister Lynn was the additional back seat driver that Alex obviously wanted.  We were very very helpful and I'm sure our driving advice was in no way annoying.  The mountain scenery was breathtaking but the road turned into a dirt track with boulders.  We were also going higher and higher and then this...
Need to write a quick disclaimer here.  I was very careful to walk around with my shoulders covered and my skirts no shorter than below knee length.  This photo was taken at midday and there was no-one else there apart from my family group, hence the skirt pulled up.  I was just so bloody hot!
We were the only ones there.  No other tourists in sight (probably because of lack of access).  A huge ancient city - almost 2000 years old.  Seleucia.

It was a tourist's dream.  The four of us walked around for as long as we could stand the soaring heat in wonderment at what we had stumbled upon.

L-R, Chris (the Rev), Lynn (my sister) and Alex (my husband)
We had a hairy moment upon getting back into the hire car in that it took a few goes to get it going but we were now hungry and argued discussed where to head back to.  Poor Alex was out voted. He wanted to head to a road side cafe set up for tourist buses but Lynn, Chris and I had spotted a little village a few miles back with a few houses and a mosque.  This ended up being the village we'd been searching for. We spotted a little house in the centre, with a covered outside area and around 3 tables, a couple of wee boys on their bikes and an old lady happy to invite us in (that sounds like I'm being offensive but she was old.  Even older than my husband).

We were all ashamed of our lack of Turkish language skills but through a lot of sign language (shoving my hands towards my mouth) and Alex's German skills (a lot of the Turkish people we met spoken German), she took us into her teensy tiny kitchen, opened her fridge and asked if that was ok.  I smiled and looked very happy.

Ten minutes later (we were trying not to watch her too much), she appeared with a feast.  This is exactly what we were looking for.
First view of 'the lunch'

The bread -think it's called Lavash, comes to the table as a bit fat pillow that you pop open and burn yourself with the steam inside. Seeds on top too.  Orange juice - could not stop drinking this stuff.  As in Istanbul, most sellers had a pile of oranges and a manual orange squeezer - order your orange and hey presto, a glass of super healthy loveliness. The fact that these were from the trees within 5 feet of where we were sitting.  Sliced cucumber and sliced tomato- so juicy and with such a fresh taste compared to what we're used to at home.  Olives - oh lord.  Not too 'briney'.  Just juicy and beautiful.  Again, picked from her own trees and jarred.  Green peppers - not the usual bell shaped green peppers that we are used to in the UK but the long, almost chilli length peppers we ate of lot of with our menemen in January.  Okra in a tomato sauce.  This was the only warm dish we had and the okra had been cooked in the beautiful tomato sauce she'd made.  Eggs - oh the eggs.  From the hens scuttling around her yard, these were divine.  I'm not a fried egg fan (just a texture thing) but I cut a few pieces off here and there and ate them with the other bits and bobs and they were super tasty.  We joked about the fact that we were glad we hadn't mentioned chicken as our amazing hostess looked like she would have had no qualms about 'dealing' with one of them as we were sitting there!

Let me go around the tray and explain what we ate: sliced tomatoes and cucumber, chopped sauteed green beans, olives, green peppers, okra in a warm tomato sauce, flatbread, fried eggs, freshly squeezed orange juice.  The best thing about this???? The lady was rightly proud about the fact that she grew every single thing on our plates (she obviously made the bread and the hens running around the yard provided the eggs).  Even the oranges were from her trees.  

We then had Turkish coffee.
I love my coffee.  I love Turkish coffee as long as there is no sugar in it.  Intense and good.
This will definitely go on my top 5 meals of my life list.  The whole thing.  The food, the surroundings.  Our host sitting constantly happily watching us as we made appreciative slurping noises at the amazing meal she'd just made for us.  

Slurping noises?  Ok.  A short video of my sister making rather loud slurping noises.  Well, you'd hear them if the sound worked.  Sorry.  But maybe it's a good thing that it doesn't. 

I'm now going to share a little bit too much information with you.  We were all drinking so much water because it was super hot with a really high humidity too.  I needed a wee.  I asked the lady and she got one of her grandsons to take me to the mosque toilet.  Very very interesting.  I noticed a bible class for females only taking place in a side room.  I then went into the toilet and it was one of the sitting squatting over the hole in the floor (with no toilet roll but a very helpful hose and tap).  Another holiday experience. 

The actual town of Side where we were staying had a lot of ruins so the next day, Alex and I also had a good look around there.  Temple of Apollo, Greek amphitheater, just so much history, it was mind-blowing.

A lovely break was had by all.  A real family holiday but with my daughter's wedding too!  Just fabbie.  

One final foodie photo.  Last night.  Testi kebab!!!  A speciality where they bring it to the table in the cooking pot which is sealed with bread.  Husband looks so impressed here doesn't he?  That's his smile.  I know it's his smile because I often ask that question.  You know the question that all men hate. 'What's wrong'? His answer?  'Nothing.  I can't help it if my face looks like this'.  So he is full of joy in this photo.

Sorry but a few more photos now.  Do you feel like you've gone to a friend's house for dinner and they suddenly pull out their holiday photo album and you can't really refuse to look at them.  I'm not feeding you dinner but I will show you a few more photos.
He won't be happy about this one.  Like at small 5-year old boy, this rather old boy would not stop going on about snorkelling while we were there.  He got his dream towards the end of the holiday.  Not a great deal to see where we were but my lovely husband was very happy and that is what counts (I'm actually not being sarcastic).
Don't worry.  You can't see me in my bikini proper here (wouldn't be good) but this is me about to have a go at snorkelling for the first time ever.  Quite liked it actually.  Saw one biggish striped fish and some coral.
I don't know if I'll ever return to Turkey.  There are too many other places in the world that I still need to see.  Turkey's a beautiful country. On balance, I probably preferred Istanbul because I prefer to visit large cities.  However, I have so many unanswered questions about this country and I would love to be able to sit someone down to ask these questions;  religion, the male/female roles in this often conservative society and so many more.  Thank you for having us Turkey.  You've been great. 


  1. Hi Ann

    Magic ... what a fab trip ... it's been 25 years since I visited Turkey but the food & hospitality are still the same by the sounds of it ... we went on a strange donkey excursion where we ended up shooting melons as my then boyfriend (now husband) was a veggie (now a meat eater!!) - bizarre.

    Elaine (Loaf Face Coop) x

  2. Long time no hear Elaine (loaf face). Miss your bread at the market! We had no donkeys and didn't shoot melons (but saw them growing for the first time ever)! Yes, 'that' lunch was was I envisaged in my head when I'd pre-planned one of our days out!