Wedding bells and serenity

Trip Start Sep 13, 2010
Trip End Nov 11, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Antalya Province,
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kas 12th October 2010-10-14

After another beautiful Turkish breaky we packed up the car around 9am and headed west along the coastline towards Kas. (pronounced Kash). The trip took around 2.5 hours and we hugged the coastline the whole way virtually – a not for the faint hearted drive I must say, but stunning coastline. (although not as spectacular as Croatia). Passed through snow capped mountains and tunnels, before the coastline, which were stunning as the sun shone on the snow, making it look like white chocolate spilt on top, or like white "ice magic" instead of chocolate on top.

As we descended from more mountains down into Kas, the view was spectacular and we knew we had picked a special place for Lisa and Ian to get married – of course they had had input into it as well!  Wes called with some amazing news just as we were heading along the peninsula up to the villa.  My lovely son is ENGAGED!!!!!!!!  I rang Gamze who is the villa's owner’s friend, (as she speaks English) who then rang Naaiil who met us out on the road so I knew where to go. . My heart sank when I saw the steep, steep, steep  driveway I had to drive up and I began to panic inside!!!  I had been hoping the villa wasn’t one of the ones hanging precariously over the cliff faces, as we drove up the hills on the narrow winding road, as I wasn’t driving down into them!!!

As I had seen pictures of the villa and done lots of communication with the owner in England I knew what to expect as was not 1 bit disappointed.  The villa stood majestically perched on a rocky outcrop, as it overlooked the Mediterranean Ocean and several small islands virtually a stone’s throw away. The housekeepers and caretaker,  Naiil and his wife Somah came in to show us around.. They had the fridge stocked with some food for us.  Most of the villas in this area are owned by Germans, English and some Danish.  I suppose it is like Thailand or Bali to us as a holiday destination.  The view was amazing!!

We went into town – about 7 minutes drive to get some supplies and check out this gorgeous village of around 6000 people.  I went into a shop and saw “the Turkish pants” I had to have for the wedding instead of my black western ones.  We nearly had a heart attack at the cost of meat and chicken here.  A leg of lamb to feed 3 of us was $90 lira – about A$80 !!!!  1 kilo of chicken pieces was about A$45  We decided to turn vegetarian while here, as vegetables exceptionally cheap. As we were cooking a barbeque for tea, we bought some kofta meatballs which were the cheapest we could find.  No where near as many carpet shops here as Goreme, but some high priced clothing shops, and all in all a lovely little fishing village, with no tourist buses and just Turkish people going about their daily lives – which is what we come to these places for.

Took in the beautiful sunset after a nanna nap and was exceptionally hard to take, felt just like being on Santorini island watching the sunset over the Meditteranean there.  Was to pick up Lisa and Ian from the bus stop at 8:30pm as they were arriving from Antalya.   I was about 3 minutes late and they were waiting for us.  Kisses all round and Yak, yak, yak for the next 4 hours or more.  Everytime we see each other it is like we saw each other yesterday, but lots more to catch up on.  Having a friend of 44 years never ceases to amaze me – how we can not talk to each other for 3 years – only via email – plan a holiday and a wedding in a foreign country and then meet, and it is like we actually talked today!  Poor Ian and Jack never got a word in!, but they expected that.  Lisa and Ian had had hiccups in Ankora getting the final red tape organised for the wedding, but there was more red tape to come when they got to Kas.

The dish pig cooked a lovely Mediterranean breaky and we ate on the terrace, thinking “this is just incredible!”.  Who would have thought 2 little girls 8 years old who began writing as penpals, so long ago,  now were sitting on a balcony in a little village in Turkey with one of them getting married the next day? 

Lots to do today.  After Naiil brought us the fresh bread (which occurs each day), we headed down to the village to meet with Gamze who was taking Lisa and Ian to the town hall to organise what was left to organise! She is a young Turkish married lady of about 30, who is an architect here, and actually designed the villa we are in.  She is absolutely gorgeous.  Thought the signing of documents and red tape maybe take 1 hour or so, but 5 hours later we get a phone call to say they are finished!!  Lisa and Ian could not have done this without Gamze’s help.  She has been amazing.  Speaking such fluent English (as the staff at the town hall don’t), helped immensely and she will be here tomorrow to translate for the wedding ceremony.  Gaye, Jack and I had picked up supplies for dinner.  I was going to be cook pig tonight and I decided on a menu of lentil soup, cucumber and yoghurt salad,  a mixed salad, and aubergine fritters, none of which I had made before, but tasted before.  Oh, and lots and lots of bread to fill us up.   I have to say dinner was devine!!!, but the lentil soup continued to move everyone in so many ways. We decided to ask the Somah – through Gamze as she doesn’t speak English if she could cook us dinner after the wedding.  No problem!! – she and Naiil would come to the house and prepare and dish it up for a very small cost + the cost of the groceries.  All was falling into place.  The wedding was set for 6:30pm tomorrow the 14th October, but rain was forecast, not that it really mattered as they were getting married on the balcony outside. I’d ordered the cake from the little bakery in the village just was hoping it would be nice. Another lovely day.

Wedding Day.

Cook pig had the breaky ready again with Jacka’s help.  We had to go and pick up the cake and Lisa wanted to talk on Skype to her daughter Hayley in Melbourne today before the marriage, so we sat at a restaurant, Smileys, that had free internet and ended up having a fantastic seafood lunch for $12 lira each – under A$10.  Lisa got all emotional which set me and Gaye off and I don’t’ know what the people in the restaurant thought was happening with all these crying old girls!  Lisa then went getting goodies to take home to the family and friends and bought a carpet off a man who was so nice, and took us into a room where he had his picture with celebrities from around the world whom he had sold carpets to and Naomi Watts was pictured there with him with her hubby. He was very proud of all his photos and selling to stars.

The strangest thing – Lesley had left behind her scarf in Goreme for me – she had said “You might need this”.  I was thinking for the cold weather, but life works in mysterious ways, as her and I know all too well!!!  The pants I bought in Kas the day I arrived were the same colour as the scarf., which at the time had no logical connection to each other – a winter scarf and Turkish pants in a place where it is still so hot.  When I saw Lisa’s wedding dress it was all meant to be! I could wrap the scarf around my waist, and add some bling. And to boot, Gaye had bought a purple top to wear over her black Turkish pants to wear, so we all complemented each other’s outfit, with no communication about who was wearing what as it didn’t really matter.   Jack and I picked flowers form the garden for our bouquets, and Jack assembled them, and we ducktaped the silver ribbon around Lisa’s silk purple flowers.  Not much else we could do – have to work with what you’ve got. Lisa had a nanna nap, and Somah and Naiil arrived about 4pm to prepare cooking dinner and would not let me help in any way whatsoever. The spitting rain turned into heavier rain, but nothing we could do and it wasn’t going to spoil anything as all undercover.  I was multitasking as photographer and matron of honour and Gaye was bridesmaid and ring bearer, and Jack was giving Lisa away, and also photographer.  Ian’s job was just to get married and stay out of the preparation way ha!ha!  Lisa was getting nervous and I put the bushflower essence Lesley had left me into her mouth, many, many times, plus gave her some wine.  I could understand how she felt, as she is a widow, and she now had to leave the past behind and begin her new life with Ian. 

The marriage celebrant arrived to marry the happy couple around 6pm and we waited for Gamze to arrive to translate.  The celebrant (who’s name I can’t remember) didn’t speak English at all and arrived all official in a red gown. Marriage done, and such a short business it is, compared to ours.  Over and done in around 5 minutes.  All so lovely.  The celebrant’s husband arrived to have the wedding  breakfast with us and Gamze stayed also.  Naiil and  Somah dished up the fabulous meal, we had a few celebratory wines and that was that . 

Friday 15th October 2010. 

Had a bit of a sleep in as we intended to just go into town as the celebrant insisted we go into her office and collect some books on Kas, Turkish coffee and tea and herbs and spices to take with us.  She took a distinct liking to me!!   Gaye and Jack chilled around the pool.  We met Gamze and her gorgeous baby for lunch and she bought some 3 whole fish for dinner to bake which were so cheap.  We had so much food left over we had to finish it wasn’t funny from the wedding breakfast.  Chilled around the pool after visiting the big Friday market not far down the road.  Ran into Somah there and she called out for us and kiss, kiss on each cheek to greet us.   Bought some of the lovely nuts we’d been scoffing heaps while in Turkey.  Gee they are so yummy.  People at the market were packing up busily and very early. “Big winds coming” they said.  I couldn’t feel any, so didn’t know where the info was coming from.  After dinner we had an early night as we are heading in different directions tomorrow.  Will be sad to leave Lisa and Ian as the time has gone so quickly.  We planned to head off around 7 as a 6 hour + drive for me to Selcuk and we wanted to see Ephesus tomorrow afternoon to miss the busloads of morning tourists.

Saturday 16th October.

I awoke to Gaye (the cook/dish pig), screaming at me to get up out of bed – the house was flooded downstairs.  Thought it was one of her practical jokes on me, but no – the floor was flooded and rain pouring in through one of the air conditioners downstairs.  It was unbelievable.  Jack was frantically trying to mop it up, but it kept pouring in, and thunder and lightening all happening.  Apparently they had not had much sleep during the night due to the storm.  Me as usual heard nothing!!  I quickly  rang Naiil to come. I wasn’t sure if he understood, but he still hadn’t arrived 2 hours later when we left.  We all frantically mopped it up with towels, and isolated the air conditioning switch in the electricity box prior, so as to not get electrocuted.  Once turned off the water stopped pouring in.  Furniture was all wet, cd’s floating in water, and what a problem!  Lisa and Ian were leaving later, so they would explain it all to Naiil.  The storm moved away and we packed up the car quickly.  The power had gone off here in Kas at least 4 times a day every day and apparently is normal.  Of course no power in the rest of the house as it went off again.  Jack had put the roller door up earlier which was good thinking.  We said our goodbyes and tears shed as usual with Lisa and me. 

The drive hugged the rugged coastline again until we turned north from Fethiye.  So many rock falls on the road, it did bother me some, as you could see where the soil also had been washed all across the road from the storm.  I was glad to get away form the cliffs right next to us, as only the road and the sea on the other side.  Ran into storms along the way and with Jack’s navigating arrived in only about 5 hours to Selcuk which is south of Izmir.  Found our hotel, Hotel Bella quite easily and our host Eardal met us upstairs on the balcony room and arranged  for Turkish takeaway (Gozleme) and gave us a guide book and drove us to Ephesus.  Straight away the cats come out of nowhere to me and avoid Gaye like the plague.  I couldn’t help but feed them some of my Gozleme.  The rain looked very pending, but we managed to spend a couple of hours at this wonderful ancient city which is still being excavated to this day.  Walking through it you could imagine the inhabitants going about their work and daily chores and so much detail is still on monuments there – from 2000 BC.  Cost $20 Turkish Lira each to go there and I have to say well worth it.  I still prefer Pompeii as it made me very emotional, however this place was abandoned, and I’m sure hundreds of deaths had occurred here over time, but Pompeii got to my heart

Afterwards Eardal came and picked us up and we had intended to drive up to Sirence (a little mountain village) 8 km away, but he suggested why not do it now?  way up I got my anxiety about heights and no guard rails again and an extremely narrow road, winding extremely high up into the mountains.  Gaye mentioned “You wouldn’t want to pass a car coming down on here would you – there would be no room for both of you”.  That was it – I spotted a bus coming down the mountain and I pulled over to a waiting area, and decided I wasn’t going any higher.  Chicken I know, but just didn’t feel comfortable doing it.   So my fear of going over edges still isn’t cured……….

Went for a walk in the village of Selcuk and so many men sitting drinking tea.  Had a look in the Friday market and headed back for dinner which was the lovely Turkish soups, Mezes, lamb and Turkish baklava for dessert

Sunday 17th October 2010

Breaky yet again fantastic.  The weight just continues to creep on and I don’t care. Eardal, the hotel owner took us to a bank to try and get some US$ but ATM didn’t do it.  Some do – give 3 or 4 different currencies.  Decided we’d just get at Istanbul airport when we transfer through.  Eardal has a carpet shop in partnership with Namzdi, and I decided I would purchase one for home.  I’d by now got a good idea of what was good quality and what wasn’t, and even though silk on silk is worth thousands and can take years to make, I was happy just to feel them and look at them.  I ended up buying a wool on wool one that was 80 years old and made in the Taurus mountains from Namsdi’s village. I loved the pattern and the colours, but when he explained the meaning of the symbols on the carpet and that it was for a family daughter’s dowry so many years ago, I knew it was for me. The symbols are symbols I love and mean a lot to me.  The difference in carpet making is that  some carpets is that the carpet makers follow a pattern, whereas the villagers have a family pattern, that they teach the daughters and is passed down – and it really is so beautiful, as they symbols mean something about the family – like heraldry I guess.  The carpets in Turkey use a double knot – not weaved and it is a piece of art.  The wool is hand spun, naturally coloured – not with dyes, hand knotted and painstakingly made.  There was absolutely no pressure (not like in Istanbul) to buy anything, Namzdi was just happy to tell me about the tradition in his village and the mountain villagers.

I almost forgot to say the temple of Artemis was right across the road and up a bit (or what is left of it – 1 column).  We had also ancient ruins across the road, and St John’s church. It is surreal to look out the window or not 2 metres from where I parked the car to imagine how life was like here centuries ago. I could sit for hours just imagining the history, the sounds, the smells, and the feel of these places

Mehmed (who I hired the car off in Goreme) arrived about 10am to get the car – he had caught the bus from Goreme to collect the car.  Eardal dropped us off at the train station and we caught the 50 minute train to Izmir.  It was lovely watching all the little villages pass by.  The flight to Istanbul was only 50 minutes and we got a lovely meal which was very unusual.  A couple of hours stopover in Istanbul, where I am now writing this and we just paid $12.50 lira for a beer to use up our lira coins.  It nearly killed Gaye, but we had to use it up and we shared it.

Our last day in Turkey and very sad to leave – I know this sounds like a cracked record again…… I feel I wasn’t quite finished with Turkey though – such a diverse and genuine culture of people, and genuinely friendly and fiercely proud of their country, indeed in which they should be. It is a place that could draw you back, time and time again.

But – Narobi, Kenya tonight here we come!!!!!!!!!!
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