Today's post is a little bit different to the norm on Turkey's For Life and for now, it's a complete one-off for this blog. We're very fortunate in that we receive many lovely emails from readers about all sorts of topics (thanks for that!) and last week, we got an email from a lady called Caroline who'd just read our post about pomegranates beginning to grow in Kayaköy.
We enjoyed reading about Caroline's memories of being in Fethiye in the '90s so much that we replied to her immediately and asked her if we could share her email with everyone. Thank you, Caroline for allowing us to post your story and to everyone reading, we hope you enjoy reading this email as much as we did.
Pomegranate flowers blooming on the trees in KayaköyWonderful to hear of you coming across those pomegranates in flower. Like you, when I was in Fethiye in the Mid 90s I was always being surprised by new things I hadn't noticed and particularly by the fruit trees. I loved that I could reach out the bedroom window to pick a pomegranate or a fresh fig, esp. as my experience of figs before then had been dried ones at Christmas - no comparison.
I remember that walk to Kayaköy well and still have the lace I bought from a woman who offered us tea as we passed (having not taken nearly enough water), illustrating the great hospitality that made such an impression on me. The first time I did the walk it was Springtime and there were so many wildflowers in the fields I could hardly believe it.
I also remember spending a lot of time in the hills behind the Karagözler area. I was staying at that side of Fethiye with my Turkish boyfriend at that time who I'll call 'V' here (holiday romance that turned into something more). I used to go up into those hills with V's mother each day, while he was at work, so their goats could graze on those unbelievably thorny bushes. If we went quite far up we would come across the beehives in amongst the trees, humming away in the dappled light. I loved it, even though I was really shy and could barely speak Turkish and she couldn't speak English we both enjoyed just sitting and listening to the hum in the cool shade of the trees.
The path to Kayaköy, filled with bee boxes!There's something nice about just having a shared experience in a beautiful place that goes beyond language barriers, though I also remember her laughter as we taught each other vegetable names. I would draw them in a sketchbook and then find out the Turkish and tell her the English. She thought it was hysterical the way we pronounce potato and tomato. Whenever she saw either she'd slowly repeat both words overemphasizing each syllable and laugh her head off. Poh-tay-toh... Toh-mah-toh.
It's hard to tell from Google maps if it is still there but on the boatyard beside the Park Marina Hotel (the old Mediteran) there used to be a fruit tree which had something on it that was similar looking to mulberries, but having never tasted a mulberry then I was never sure if that's what they were. They were delicious though, and fruited around August I think. V said they were unique to the area so perhaps they were a totally different fruit altogether.
Kayaköy - taken in the 90s by Caroline's friend's dadI'm so much enjoying your blog and all the wonderful memories it brings back of the happiest time in my life. If it wasn't for the heat I'd have stayed forever but my pale Scottish skin (and Scandinavian heritage) does not take kindly to anything beyond warm. I remember passing out at he airport once and missing my flight when the temperature inside hit 40... though it did mean I got another 2 weeks of loved-up bliss until I could get a new flight, albeit hiding in the shadows each day until the temperatures lowered.
I've always wanted to come back but reading your blog and looking at your photos is the next best thing, you really do give such a great live feeling for what it's like these days and for the changes that happen and I especially love all the food related entries. I still swear by my little Turkish cookbook* and memories of the things I cooked with V's mother, like red pepper filled Pide - oh, I can almost smell it now!
Whenever you mention Turkish foods it reminds me of recipes I'd forgotten about, like shredded courgette fritters - Mücver, mmm, bloomin' gorgeous. She once made a platter of them and I demolished the lot - to her delight, she was so pleased to see me eat 'properly', thinking I was too skinny by Turkish mother standards (I was size 12-14 UK and she thought 18-20 would be better). She rushed straight off to make the same again but my sense of British politeness, embarrassingly missing during the first platter, made me insist everyone else have some too this time, though I could happily have eaten every last one.
Thanks for keeping Fethiye alive for me.
May all your journeys have an Efes Pilsen at the end...
* 30 Minute Vegetarian Turkish Cookbook by Sarah Beattie if people are interested.
(Photos 2 and 3 were provided by Caroline and were taken in the '90s. They are photos of photos, hence the quality, but we love the effect.)