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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

Fred's Weekend Away



by Fred Moore - July 2008

It's 3 July and the Cilician Plain is approaching its peak summer heat; it's 34 degrees Celsius at 7:00 a.m. this morning as we drive north and west toward the mountains. Carol and I intend to escape the high temperatures for a few days in the Taurus Mountains above Pozanti at Sezer Motel.

The drive is about 140 kilometers and primarily autobahn. Our trip is uneventful and we make the motel in just a couple hours. You've been here with us before; a room includes dinner and breakfast for 120 Lira per night.

We get assistance with our bags and we're housed in one of the second level buildings. Our room includes one double and one twin bed. The motel is situated on the mountain side so the buildings associated with it are on several levels of terraced hill. They're currently preparing a new building on this level that will give the complex five buildings. There's a little breeze blowing through our open window and it must be 10 degrees cooler here than on the plain below. We open our balcony door and the breeze becomes far more brisk through our open window.

This is simply a weekend away, no phone, no computer, no objectives, no associates, no demands on our time and most of all, no stress! We've planned nothing except a two day get away alone. We made a short drive through the village of Pozanti on our way here; we wanted to see how busy the village was on a weekday. We drove around a few streets and it looked as though it was quite active, we didn't stop anywhere though.

Once we've unpacked and put things away in our room, we take our books to the main building's covered terrace to enjoy our day in the cool breeze of this lovely mountain valley. There's a pretty strong breeze from the north flooding the terrace with fresh clean air. The pages of my book want to turn just a little faster than I can consume them. We sit out here for several hours reading totally oblivious to the world around us. We're asked somewhere in this time if we'd care for refreshments. It's a great idea and we accept; Carol enjoys a cup of tea and I have a soda (mineral water).

Around 1:30 we're asked about lunch and decline the offer; instead we take a break from our books and go for a drive north through the valley. The sky is clear, it's a most radiant blue today from horizon to horizon and the valley is immersed in multi-colors of lush green trees and other vegetation. The road is two-lane asphalt that rises, falls and curves with the stream it accompanies up through this valley. We're cradled between two ridges; to our left as we drive north there are low rock-strewn rolling hills with the occasional jagged rock outcropping, to our right are the massive rock spires of the higher Taurus Mountains reaching for the sky. I feel as though I never experience the same mountains twice, even though I've made this drive so many times before. Every trip through here, it's a different time of day, a different season of the year; it's never without awe that I see ever new spectacular vistas. Our last trip through here these peaks were snow covered and the snow softened their appearance. Today they are sharp ragged projections completely void of their prior softness. I imagine too, how many generations of people have passed this way before me and seen these magnificent peaks of solid rock. The sun and the shadows cast magic spells on this entire landscape as we continue our drive. I would love to possess the necessary talent to transfer this wondrous panorama to canvas! I simply have to settle for more digital photographs.

We're not twenty minutes into our drive now and we come to Camardi, one of the larger villages along this road. We turn off today into the village; we've never stopped here before and figure there must be a place for us to have lunch. We drive around the village square and sure enough, here's Lezzet Lokantasi, a small café. We pull in and park directly in front of the lokanta (that's one name for a small restaurant in Turkish); the window advertises doner (this is shaved lamb or chicken on a vertical spit) and that always makes a very nice lunch. We have to climb a half dozen steps to enter and as we ascend the steps, we're greeted cordially by a gentleman who welcomes us. He says, hosgeldinez (welcome) and we respond with hosbulduk (it is good to be here) and we get seated in the small dining room. There are six tables all facing the glass front of the dining room. We have a view of the square and some shops doing business around it.

Carol opts for a baked veggie tava (a kind of stew), mostly eggplant and I get the chicken doner over rice. We each get a salad and we drink ayran (water-thinned yogurt). Ayran is better thick (like a milk shake) and to be really really good, it must be stone cold. Our greeter puts a large plate of bread down between us and it's soft, fresh and GREAT! We savor every bite of our lunch and talk about our drive and what we do with our day. After we clean each plate set before us, we're pleasantly stuffed. We've made a fine choice of both restaurant and food selections. We pay our bill and thank the man for his great food and superb hospitality.

Once outside, we walk along above the parking area and pass by several other shops. There are two gold shops we noted on the way into the restaurant and we stop to window shop at the first one. We see some gold coins and decide to go in and ask about the prices; the door's locked, it's closed. Oh well, we move on to the next shop (the door stands open) and look in the window; we want to check on a gold coin for a Turkish friend who is to be married in a few days. This is Sadettin Emiroglu's shop and the coin we're looking for is 63 lira (just over $50) so we buy it. We explain it's for a wedding and he wraps it in one of his shop boxes. Gold coins are a traditional wedding (all occasion) gift; they come in three basic sizes. These are not your standard commerce type (circulating) coin; they are thinner than normal coins and have a small loop that a ribbon can be tied through; then a pin is added so the coin can be pinned to a jacket or sash.

We return to our car and begin driving slowly back to the motel, enjoying the lovely panorama spread out before us; it's just a beautiful day. We don't drive far and we come to a roadside produce stand. Carol asks me to pull over, she wants to buy some cherries – big black ones – she discovers a kilo (2.5 lbs) is only 2 Lira ($1.65) and gets a kilo. We continue our drive down the valley. While we consume the beauty of the countryside, we encounter the occasional tractor and wagon, a car now and then but little else. We see a number of people working out in the orchards of apples and other fields but we're back at the motel in no time.

Carol goes back to her reading on the terrace and I retreat to our room for a nap. I sleep about 40 minutes and then I'm awakened by a most annoying bird flying against the window and pecking at the glass. I assume he can see himself in the glass and thinks he can confront the bird he sees for dominance of the windowsill. I'm annoyed but tickled at the same time; I get up and return to the lower terrace where Carol is still reading. The breeze is still washing across the terrace and the afternoon temperature is still cool and pleasant.

I inquire of the staff about the time for dinner and they tell me we can eat when we like so I suggest 6 p.m. inside. We don't wish to compete with nature (insects – bees mostly) for dinner. This valley is laced with bee hives this time of year. We must have seen 4 or 5 clusters of them on our drive; one location even advertised honey for sale. I decide to just relax and watch the traffic on the road while Carol finishes her book. A couple different families stop by and have refreshments at tables around us and we exchange greetings as they arrive and then leave. Three gentlemen stop by to inquire about room availability and then they're here only a minute.

The afternoon turns to early evening and we're told dinner is our choice: fish, chicken, or meat. I order for both of us; chicken shish with bulgar (cracked wheat), chips (fries), corba (soup), ekmek (bread), and a wonderful fresh garden salad. After dinner, we're offered fresh fruit but we couldn't even get fully through our chicken shish so we politely pass.

After dinner, we walk around the grounds. The motel staff have put a hose over the edge of their pool (they are filling it for the season); seems late to me but then I guess it's probably too cool up here before now. I'm didn't reach down to the water but I have to bet it was extremely cold; it was probably coming directly from one of the mountain springs. We also walk around inside the newest addition to the motel; there's a TV (wall mounted plasma large screen) room, a room with a pool table and Ping-Pong table and there's a fitness center with numerous pieces of equipment. They also have a sauna and hamam that are not yet open. Additionally, they have two soccer fields that are very well cared for; one above the hotel and one below.

It's eight o'clock now and we return to our room. We sit out on the balcony looking west and south – to the south are two mountains looking like flat cones against the horizon – the one in front has a rounded peak and the one behind, somewhat higher in the sky, has a peak that comes to more of a point. The mountain in front appears to be greener than the one behind it.

I sit here and watch as the clouds evolve from white to gray and then black, except where the setting sun casts the west side of them a soft salmon color. There's still plenty of light, but darkness is slowly engulfing us as we enjoy the wonderful views within the embrace of these mountains. The largest collection of clouds over the conical mountains have taken on the slightest pink color at their center – just a wisp of color in a sea of solid black.

The sun is now well below our western horizon as we slowly begin to be enveloped in darkness. The countryside is beginning to retire – daytime nature sounds have begun to recede while the nocturnal sounds rise up from around us. Animal and bird conversations fade – the wind in the trees does likewise – I can hear the water in the stream below us now along with the occasional truck, tractor or combine on the road just beyond the stream. Our building, as I mentioned earlier, is on a level above the main building and the sounds from stream and road below are somewhat muted because of it.

This is truly our escape from the life we lead on the plain below, not to mention the heat; we also get virtually no nature sounds at home. One by one, the stars begin to penetrate the blackened sky. Though we have some ‘light pollution' from motel floodlights, we can still see many, many stars; among them, the Big Dipper and the North Star. It's a wondrous sky above and we sit and take it all in for a few hours before we retire to bed.

The morning light floods our room and I rise to meet our new day; I reach for my watch and find it's 6:15. I get up and open the balcony door to let the morning air flood our room. Carol is coming around, she doesn't appreciate the early morning nearly as much as I do; poor girl is a night owl not a morning dove. We leisurely pull ourselves together and head down for breakfast, which is served beginning at seven. We have the traditional Turkish breakfast; it's served NOT buffet so I usually wind up with things I do not eat. We both appreciate a buffet set up far more but certainly understand the service style here. Carol and I share our food selections; she enjoys olives I do not. I enjoy the white cheese so Carol gives me her cheese and I give her my olives. There's another white cheese served here that we simply are not accustomed to; it's extremely strong and neither of us like it.

While enjoying breakfast and our usual conversation about the day ahead, we decide the solitude is a bit more than we really want so we agree to move on. I phone to be sure there's a room available, we don't simply want to show up. We return to our room and pack, I take the bags to the car and Carol meets me in the reception area. I collect our bill and make payment; we thank our hosts and get on the road. It's a lovely day for a drive and we enjoy it.

It's early morning and we see many farmers out again preparing their orchards (spraying trees) and fields for planting. We meet and pass a number of women riding donkeys making their way to the fields or wherever they may be working (or travelling for a visit). Here are two ladies, one walking beside the donkey while the other rides. There's a gentleman coming out of this side road on a donkey at the intersection, his animal isn't sure he wants to stop but the guy has a firm grip on the rein and holds him back. Oh, now here's a mess, road workers are putting down tar and covering it with crushed stone. I slow down hoping to prevent a stone from hitting my windshield. Fortunately, there's little traffic on this road so other cars aren't going to be throwing stones at me.

We're at the intersection of the main road now; turn left to Nigde or right for Kayseri, I turn left toward Nigde and in short order turn right again headed for Nevsehir. The railroad crossing immediately after the right turn toward Nevsehir is a nasty one -- don't hit it too fast. We're on a four-lane divided highway now, so we can drive a little faster across the plain. We drive through Golcuk and I have to stop for the red light, never seem to get through this village, that light always turns red as I get to it, HaHaHa. Now we take the by-pass around Derinkuyu and drive on toward Kaymakli.

As we drive on and get closer to Nevsehir, Carol points out a road sign to Uchisar. We've never noticed or never paid any attention to this sign before but it seems to indicate a short cut to our destination so we turn to discover where it might lead us. Shortly into the turn, we enter Cardak Koyu and once in the village we are directed by more signs to turn left for Uchisar. Carol and I discuss where we think we will come out and continue the drive; this road takes us past a prison compound and then a Kolej (college). In just a few minutes we're at the main road we thought we'd come out on but we are NOT at the intersection I anticipated we would come out at. It seems funny, we've been here how many times and we're just now learning this route cuts 20 or more kilometers off our travels. We've been driving through Nevsehir for the past five years and now find out we never had to do that at all.

Now we drive around Uchisar and on to Goreme. We pull into the parking area at the Ottoman House and go inside. We're only nicely in the door and Ali welcomes us warmly and grabs a key from the pigeon holes behind the counter. We're at our home away from home, now, Suite 223. Ali helps us with our bags and we get comfortable in our suite. We're sitting on the balcony now enjoying a cup of tea and the wonderful breeze. It's cool here as well, but not as cool as on the mountain.

After a bit of rest and relaxation we opt for a walk. Just down from the Ottoman House, we have a chance meeting with Omer Tosun, owner of the Indigo Carpet Shop. This is a shop open to carpet buyers by appointment only. Omer is standing out front of his shop admiring a very lovely 150-year-old Konya runner spread out on the street. He's looking at the piece out under the sun to appreciate its rich history and to fully assess its character and age. Under the sun is the ONLY way to fully recognize the value of a masterpiece of this quality.

As we discuss the attributes of his new acquisition, he understands us to be connoisseurs much like himself; he invites us in to see other beautiful and rich old ‘favorites' from has vast collection. We are wholly captivated by his most beautiful and historic pieces. We see many pieces over the next hour but as always – so many carpets, so little time. We leave him most reluctantly and continue our walk to visit with friends.

We next stop by Moulin Rouge; Carol wants a different purse and decides to get one here from Zafer. Zafer and I sit and visit while Carol looks through the shop. Carol finds her purse; we pay and continue our walk. We window shop a little as we walk on toward Tribal Collections. As we approach the carpet shop, we notice two ladies with our friends Ruth and Faruk. We learn as we join the group that Ruth's sister Katie is visiting from New Zealand and then too we meet Susan, an Australian lady who has fallen for the charm of Turkey and now has a home in Uchisar.

We sit and visit over tea. Ruth suggests that we come around in the morning so she can show us some of the work being done by the Goreme Charity Restoration Fund; Carol and I are contributors. A few minutes into our visit, Faruk is off on a mission to talk with contractors about house plans and then Ruth is pulled away to tend to the carpet business with clients in the shop. After another few minutes, Susan excuses herself and we're left to have a delightful visit with Katie. Katie is visiting for a time – no set period has been established – she's not been in Turkey since she was seven. Very recently, she's been in Korea as an English teacher and is enjoying some time now, visiting family in Turkey. It's quite interesting as we talk about all kinds of topics with Katie; she isn't certain what's next in her travels (she mentions the UK) but she's a lot like Carol and me, she's taking life one day at a time. After a very pleasant hour, we excuse ourselves and continue our stroll in the shopping areas.

We wander back to the hotel now and get the car. We want to drive up to Uchisar to visit with our friend Taner at Ala Turca. While visiting Taner, we meet Sirpil, his lovely young lady friend. We talk for a time and then as always look through a few stacks of carpets and kilims. The afternoon fast escapes and we must return to the Ottoman House.

We didn't take time for lunch today and now we walk to our favorite place for a meal – Cappadocia Kebab Center. We're never disappointed here; the food is consistently good and today is no exception. After we have dinner, we stroll on stopping at the end of the business street at Goreme Seramek. This is an excellent shop for browsing and learning about the craft of pottery making. Their specialty is lace-like artwork and it's exquisite, fine detail. Plates, plaques, refrigerator magnets, cups, bowls, ashtrays, they are all lovely and affordable. We buy a wall plaque and a couple of magnets as gifts.

It's a lovely afternoon and we make our way back toward the hotel again stopping here and there to speak to friends and browse other shops. Once back at the hotel we settle on our balcony and enjoy the descending evening. We sit and wait for the stars to appear and find the identical set of three stars we noticed the night before while sitting out on our balcony in the mountains. Obviously, the Ottoman House and the Sezer Motel sit with similar structural orientations – that is to say, based on the stars we are obviously looking at a very similar piece of the sky. There's a lot more light in Goreme so the stars are far harder to see. The evening is cool though and we enjoy every minute out here on the balcony. Finally, we must turn in for the night and reluctantly retire to bed.

We're awakened bright and early by the sounds of balloons – flames being blasted into the balloon canopies by gas jets to heat the air. As we pull the curtain back, we see several balloons right outside our room; I don't believe we've ever seen them quite so close to the Ottoman House. We freshen up and go up stairs for breakfast. We obviously start our day far too early; we're the only ones in the dining room. We enjoy a leisurely meal and then retreat to our balcony for the morning as we wait for the hour to meet Ruth.

Time slips away and before we know it, we must be getting on to Tribal Collections for our tour. Ruth drives us around to see all the projects being accomplished by the Goreme Charity Restoration Fund. They are currently ‘fixing' the outside appearance of many street-side walls, returning them to their original façade. The idea is to integrate the 21st century structures with the architecture of the ancient past. The work is done only for those who cannot afford to do it for themselves. There appears to be some reluctance on the part of some property owners to restore their facades; I find that quite unfortunate but maybe with time even those who do not wish to support the effort will see its immense benefits. It's never too soon to restore what one can because when it's gone you can't get it back!

Back at Ruth's shop now, we thank her so much for the tour and get on with our day. We've made plans to join Taner for lunch at his shop in Uchisar. We drive up and drive around the back of Taner's shop so Carol can visit the Caveman shop; this is one of Taner's friends. Carol wants to look at Soganli folk dolls; she buys three quite different ones – one for a gift for a grand niece who has a new baby brother. While in the shop I see an onyx clock, it's carved stone and is designed to look like a book, I buy it.

We leave with our treasures and walk around to Taner's carpet shop. We climb to the terrace above the shop and enjoy the midday breeze. After an hour of conversation, lunch is brought out to us. There's a wonderful platter of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and banana peppers. The large plate stacked with watermelon chunks and then pita bread with meat and cheese melted into it. We have fresh ayran and the feast begins.

Taner's friend Tefek has also joined us for lunch now. We eat and visit for well over an hour; this is the life! We talk of new hotels in town – one, with Jacuzzi baths with huge windows looking out over the entire valley – cost for the cheapest room we're told is 250E!

After lunch, Taner takes us on a tour of his Uchisar – to see the old village and some of the restoration being done by a consortium of Istanbul doctors (Argos). We must drive around Pigeon Valley through the fields parallel to the main road. Taner tells us many old caves house are being purchased and renovated by foreigners; German, Italian, French and even a few Americans. Taner drives us through some pretty narrow streets and has to turn back a few times due to construction work. All of the streets are square cobble stone and quite challenging to drive on I think. They are extremely narrow and impassable by and large.

Before we end our afternoon, Taner takes us by Kaya Pension & Restaurant for refreshments. Kaya has a wonderful view of the landscape and we enjoy a few minutes of light conversation before returning to Taner's shop. Our tour takes us an hour and is great fun, we thank Taner so much for his time, and we reluctantly leave for Adana. Once again we've had a lovely weekend and we've escaped the heat of home.




Fred´s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred´s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to Anıtkabir
Fred´s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to Soğanlı and Gülşehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
Göreme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - Özkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmaraş Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karataş
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
Bahar's Views on...
Business World
From Members' Pen
Interviews with Members
Moms & Kids Corner
Pets with Dr. Demirel
The archives of The Guide
The Archives of Turkishtime
Teen's world

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Fred's Trip Logs
Fred´s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred´s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to Anıtkabir
Fred´s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to Soğanlı and Gülşehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
Göreme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - Özkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmaraş Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karataş
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya

Focus On
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