|Fertile valley in the Taurus Mountains|
Our route took us past the town of Kalkan, sadly now over run by ex-patriots, and through the world heritage site of Xanthos, then onto bumpy, twisty, narrow roads which wind through crumbling villages, their lush orchards and vines groaning under enormous crops. Our bus climbed ever upwards until, finally, we turned into the farm which was to be our overnight stay. This farming family provides a homestay experience to supplement their income and, like most in the area, is home to three generations of the same family. Our accommodation was basic, in a dormitory, sleeping on foam mattresses on the floor, but it was a fantastic place to spend a night.
|Bergil and Layla prepare our lunch|
We settled in and then went to watch grandmother, Layla, and daughter, Bergil, prepare
our lunch. In their small kitchen they made delicious gozleme (Turkish stuffed pancakes) filled with cheese, onion, dill, cumin and parsley and cooked over an open fire, which we ate at a long table under grapevines dripping with grapes. Lunch was accompanied by their homemade Ayran, a sour yoghurt drink which I enjoyed but others in our group found a little too sharp.
|Ursil and his son show us the valley below their farm|
After lunch and a relaxing snooze Ursil, the daughter's husband and their small son took us for a walk around the hillside and part way down to the valley. It is an astonishing place, a veritable garden of Eden fed by natural, gushing spring water. We passed grape vines, figs, persimmons, quince, pears, blackberries, red currants, sunflowers, corn, beans and other crops, all growing in abundance and on every spare piece of land until we arrived at a lookout over the vast, fertile valley floor crammed with crops.
|Layla weaving a Kilim rug|
|At the farmhouse with our hosts|
Everything for breakfast came from the farm; butter, cheese, bread, olives, apricot jam, honey, grape jam and eggs.
|The grape vine beside the farmhouse|
|Heading off down the mountain after our stay|
|The local farmers harvesting grapes|
and, right, proud grandparents handed us peaches
This farmstay was a wonderful and unique experience. How lucky we were to stay with a local family and gain an insight into life on a Turkish farm. They were the loveliest of people, charming and obliging hosts and their farm, high in the mountains is a quiet and magical haven.