October – long walks and new discoveries

View from my bed...makes me get up and get out!

When you wake to a view like this on an October morning you can’t stay inside. The air is fresh and clear and the sunshine bright but no longer likely to kill you with heatstroke, so you are encouraged to explore, and even after five years here I still find the valley endlessly beautiful and fascinating and there are always new discoveries to be made.

Sunday is traditionally our exploring on foot day, and we comb the valley, wander the olive groves and the pineforests, meet new people and old friends and generally connect with the environment we are lucky enough to live in.

Hidden away on the back lanes behind the mosque the tiny Greek cemetery, from the days before the population exchange when this village was equally balanced Greek and Turkish, still exists. The gravestones are almost hidden amongst long dried grass and the old ossuary is inside a modern block building, but it is still there and if you search you can find it.

Old gravestones in the Greek churchyard

Today we walked south from the village, taking the track that winds along the edge of the pine forests, skirting the olive trees and vineyards, switchbacking its way into the wilderness of hills that become mountains fading away into the ever blue sky.

Walking south from Kirazli

The dogs love it, Shadow pacing out elegantly and Vinnie scuttling around looking for something to bite! In the fields the sesame stacks are drying from green to gold to dark rich brown and the vines are changing colours, mottling in the autumn sunlight.

Sesame drying in the fields

Whilst the road tempted us on to find out what was around the next corner we were hungry and so taking a side track from the forests we turned back onto the main road into Kirazli and discovered the lovely Kirazli Bahce restaurant. Just on the left before you enter the village this recently opened sofrasi is a haven of scented flowers and dappled shade from apple and plum trees, widely spaced tables and a certain elegance that speaks volumes to anyone who knows just how hard it is to get a professional finish on many things in Turkey!

Entrance to Kirazli Bahce restaurant

Kirazli Bahce, all dappled shade and scented plants

Not only is it a lovely place to go, full of nasturtiums and trumpet vines and neat paths edged with bright marigolds but they also allow dogs in. So Shadow and Vinnie settled down in the shade and enjoyed their own koy khavalti whilst we had a traditional breakfast of eggs, four different types of cheese, warm village bread, the thin but gloriously coloured and flavour intense home made jams and some of the best olives I have ever had.

Wonderful salads, fantastic cheeses and intense home made jams

Hanging in the open kitchen are a dazzling array of home dried herbs, flowers and vegetables and you can buy jars of pickles and sauces to take away with you. Breakfast was a very reasonable 10tl each which is slightly cheaper than many of the other traditional sofrasi and give the pretty location and the quality of the ingredients used that’s a bargain.

Hanging herbs, dried flowers and vegetables

By the time we had finished breakfast it was nearly noon and the dogs were definitely getting tired as we slowly walked the last couple of hundred yards back to the village to collapse in the sun for the afternoon.