When the cows come home!

Trip Start Apr 05, 2012
Trip End May 05, 2012

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Real Rural Turkey

Flag of Turkey  , Denizli,
Thursday, April 19, 2012

I hope I have got you guessing what this is all about.  You'll just have to wait and see!  The day did not start well.  I won't go into the gory details but suffice to say our travel arrangements hit some "misunderstandings".  We were not impressed and it resulted in us hanging around in the lobby of the hotel, lots of stress etc.  But we eventually on got a bus - a local bus for the four hour drive over the top of the world (or so it seemed) to Pamukkale.  The bus ride was 10/10 - 5 star.  We were the only foreigners travelling on the bus and the scenery was amazing, the trip was interesting and the people so friendly.  We were right in the snow capped mountains.  Steep hill sides, about a quarter was on dirt roads - potholes to rival those in Zambia!  The bus kept stopping to pick up and drop off passengers at random cross roads, roadside stalls, or somewhere where there was no sign of life.  We had a 10 minute pit stop about half way and Pete and I popped into a little cafe, saw a man being served soup, so asked what it was - chicken.  Great.  How much?  3 Turkish Lira. So we ordered two.  They were delivered within a minute or so, along with a very generous portion of the most fantastic bread.  It reminded me of the bread we used to get when we went to Beira - really soft on the inside and crusty out.  Having quaffed that down we went back to the bus office only to be offered Turkish tea and we sat with the driver and other drivers, passengers, who knows?  Very social!  Eventualy on one of the unscheduled stops a fellow indicated we were to get out of the bus - our luggage was offloaded and it was rather a surprise that we were't going to Pamukkale on the bus - but it was a very efficient transfer and our new driver was a real joker - about John Howard now being a camel driver because he lost his job, and other Australian related subjects.  We didn't get them all but he tried!  

When we got to Pamukkale we dropped our bags in our hotel room and went out to see what was what.  Obviously first stop was the incredible travertines, but we decided we'd wait for our tour tomorrow, and just did a bit of an explore in the open areas.  We then tried to find a shop where we could get some supplies - like bars of chocolate, milk etc.  Didn't make much progress but as Pete went into one shop I popped into one with a big information sign outside - just my sort of shop!!  I asked if they could tell me where I could buy milk.  Well, the fellow's eyes lit up - I'll take you to just the place he said (or I thought he said!).  Out came the mobile phone and in no time at all he'd tee'd up to take Pete and I to his sister's farm - she would be milking the cows in about half an hour.  

I was a bit apprehensive - and when I told Pete he was very unsure of all this.  How much would it cost?  How long would it take?  You can imagine.  There was no stopping the plan though -the guy had the bit between his teeth and had us uploaded into his car in the click of a mouse, and after much gesticulating, phoning, chatting to colleagues and so on we headed out of town - just three miles.  Well he chatted all the way there, we got to his sister's, she wasn't there but her young (approx 15 year old ) son was there.  He was despatched by uncle to make us tea, whilst we were made comfortable on the verandah.  And yes - there were about 15 cows in a nearby shed lowing for milking.  Sister arrived - quick chat, tea served, brother left - assuring us that his brother in law would be back soon and he would take us back to town! Brother in law arrived and was apparently delighted to see us and gave us such a lovely welcome to his home etc.  More tea. Then the vet arrived - after we all had another glass of tea we headed to the barns, watched while Mr. Vet donned plastic raincoat and extra long plastic glove, stuck his arm up the cow's rear end and proclaimed he'd be back in the morning to make her pregnant!  Sister then proceeded to milk the cows - washed the udders with water from a bucket, plugged the cows, two at a time, to an electric powered milking machine, and we wandered around patting the calves, watching them eat, be milked etc.  The two sons, the one who had made the tea and another who was helping shovel manure around the barn - were both helping the parents and very much a part of the action.  In fact the one boy was blond and really didn't look a part of the family.  After milking, the young son was given the task of driving the milk urn (containing about 100 litres) to the village depot.  Everything they do - they do as a consortium, whether it is the milk, wool, meat, farm produce.  We then sat on the verandah again but this time sister boiled the milk and we were given fresh milk to drink.  It was delicious!  She also filled up a water bottle with the hot milk and it is now sitting in the fridge.   Then sister and hubby took us to the village centre where they opened up the carpet making rooms and showed us where they make the kilims and carpets which they sell - not to the tourist trade but direct to wholesalers for export.  We were under no pressure to buy, they were just very interested in sharing their lifestyle with us!  We also saw 100 year old grandma who is apparently in great health.  This was a most fascinating and enjoyable evening.  The sunset from their farm on the hill top was spectacular although Pete was freezing - I had his jacket.  We certainly hadn't needed jackets when we left the hotel for our little stroll a few hours earlier!  

When we got back into town we dashed to our hotel, grabbed a few things to make a sort of gift for the sister and her husband - we had a packet of tim tams, a box of factory fresh Turkish delight, a couple of clip on koalas, and a packet of Australian serviettes.  We returned to the "information" office and handed the little parcel over to the brother who'd organised it all and asked him to pass it on to his sister.  

We have the milk in the fridge - but to our dismay this is a rare occasion when we have no tea or coffee making facilities in the room!  

What a real treat this has all been.  It will be one of the highlights of our travels.  Tomorrow we have a big day - hopefully everything goes according to plan.  We spend the day touring Pamukkale, then travel to Kusadesi.  So much to look forward to.  
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Andi on

Wow, sounds amazing!! What a fantastic experience!

carol on

wow...loved the story!!! rushing to work, late again!! take care xx

John on

Sounds absolutely fabulous. Such nice people and so spontaneous with their ability to share.

Denise on

What lovely hospitable people and what an experience!

Jeremy on

My kind of story, but prefer unboiled milk - no boiling. But you do know that all farmers are wonderful hosts. Lots of love

Lorraine Tennett on

Well, no-one equals you two for stamina, drive and having a good time!

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