Winter Day Trips From Fethiye – Just Enjoying Üzümlü

After a recent drive to the snow in the mountains around Kırkpınar, we wanted to show our friends the village of Üzümlü; further down the mountain, so much warmer, but still higher than Fethiye. The air is cooler but we still had enough daylight left to have a quick wander around before the sun went down – and we all got a bit cold to the bone; that type of coldness where it takes an age to warm yourself back up again.

These days, Üzümlü has made a name for itself because of the Yeşil Üzümlü Mushroom Festival which has taken place each April for the past five years. We’re regulars at this event because it has a bit of a feel-good atmosphere about it. The winter weather is past us, spring is upon us, and, weather permitting, there’s an abundance of kuzu göbeği – morel mushrooms – to be foraged, bought, eaten. We actually splashed out for some one year and made crispy fried morel mushrooms – but most people just enjoy them as gözleme filling at the festival.
Üzümlü Village, Near Fethiye, Turkey

There are also a few wine makers in Üzümlü too (‘Üzümlü’ means ‘containing grapes,’ or ‘grapey,’ if you can picture that non-word) and, in previous years, the mushroom festival has become more of a wine festival, really. All good fun!

Üzümlü Houses, Turkey

But anyway, this post is not about the mushroom festival. We just wanted our friends to see the old, original part of the village. Tumbledown buildings; some long-empty, some occupied and in desperate need of repair (yet which still instil a warm nostalgia) and others that have been restored to former glory – it all makes for a pretty place to walk around.

These days, in the valley below and its surrounding hillsides, there are modern villas – and you can see the clues in the village with estate agents and the odd bar offering curry nights or fish and chips etc – but Üzümlü hangs on to its roots, still…

Houses Of Yeşilüzümlü Village, Muğla

The old guys still sit in the village square at the same place they have done for years. They drink çay and play okey or tavla (backgammon) and, as you walk around the village, you can see women sitting in their windows weaving dastar. We’ve written about Üzümlü dastar in the past, and, in summer – and at the mushroom festival – you can see all the raw silk goods that Üzümlü is famous for, hanging in the streets on display.

As we strolled around with our friends, one of them stopped to watch a lady weaving on her loom. The lady waved us inside and I don’t mind admitting at this point that I was just thinking, “Noooo, don’t go in. We’ll get a sales pitch.” Slapped wrists for cynical me. The lady was really friendly and showed us what she was doing and warbled away to us as if we had a clue what she was talking about. My Turkish suffices…but this was one of those occasions where, with the speed she was talking at, it was just never going to happen.

And she couldn’t have done a sales pitch even if she’d wanted to because there was nothing there for her to sell. She was just in her little room, weaving, happy to be filmed. I asked her if it was difficult. Difficult on the eyes, she said. “Difficult for you,” she said, pointing to me. “But easy for me because I know it.” Guess that roughly translates to the international language of ‘it’s easy when you know how.’

We watched her for a few minutes, thanked her, bid her ‘kolay gelsin’ (may your work come easy) and left her to her weaving. If we go back later in the year and she has dastar hanging outside, we’ll buy something from her.

After a quick stroll to the top of the street and the old mosque, it was time to head back to Fethiye. Not before we had noticed the new way markers for walkers, however. Fethiye Belediyesi (council) have dotted these yellow signs around various areas of Fethiye to point the way for walkers. They’re never very frequent and not to be relied upon for taking off into the mountains or anything – but at least we get a good starting point for a route to Cadianda.

We’ve written about Cadianda in the past – we LOVE this place – but on the one occasion we made it up there, it was by car. All the way up the hillside, we were muttering to each other, “You must be able to walk up here.” Well, yes you can. It’s on our list…

Yeşil Üzümlü – Useful Information

  • Üzümlü is just a short drive from Fethiye, off the main Fethiye to Denizli mountain road. Leave Fethiye via Günlükbaşı and head towards the D400; the main road towards Dalaman (west) and Antalya (east). At D400 junction, cross it and head straight on towards Üzümlü. You’ll see the signposts.
  • There are a handful of cheap and reasonably priced places to eat and drink in the village.
  • There is a dolmuş between Fethiye and Üzümlü but they aren’t too often. Check at the main dolmuş station (behind Konya Etli Ekmek and opposite the entrance to the Tuesday market) in Fethiye for times. Check what time the last one is, otherwise you’ll need a taxi.
  • There is also a municipality (belediye) bus that, at the time of writing, runs three times a day on weekdays.
  • There are a few places to stay in Üzümlü, if you want to stay over for a night or few.

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Comments

  1. Can you advise on the date of the 2015 of the 2015 mushroom festival – can’t seem to find it online? Thanks, Pete

    • Hi, it doesn’t look like the dates have been announced yet. In past years, it’s always been in April but it was put back to the last weekend in April last year rather than the middle weekend. These things always seem to be last minute unfortunately.

  2. I keep missing the mushroom festival. I must try and be in Turkey for it this year.

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