Indian Summer

Fifth Beach at the Millipark
This is the Indian Summer (cue Stereophonics), it’s my absolute favourite time of year, I can’t seem to take a bad photograph with clear colour drenched skies above us, seas that look lit from below and sunlight through the leaves changing their colours every second. It’s just brilliant.

Now the majority of the crowds have gone the Aegean settles down for a warm autumn before winter kicks in and with Kurban Bayram just around the corner everyone seems in an expansive and generous mood.

A case in point; we were peering through the wire fences that surround one of the closed archeological sites the other day when the caretaker came up to us and kindly let us in for a wander around. It isn’t unusual to have a wonderful archeological site to yourself in Turkey, but this was something special.

Perched above the Aegean sea, part fortress, part monastery, part Ottoman workshop the ruins are layer upon layer of life going back three thousand years.

Storage jars
Frescos in the dark

Amongst the ruins, we saw huge amphora baking in the sun, half buried in the earth, the broken ones looking like the cracked remains of dinosaur eggs. In the ruins of an old church we saw a massive marble font dramatically cracked from side to side by an earthquake and in a dark damp cistern below the ruins we found the remnants of frescoes, retrieved from the rubble and carefully cemented back into place on the curved brick walls. So beautiful but strangely sad, faces from forever ago, fading into the dark.

Fishermen at the Millipark

Down in the Dilek Millipark we have the beaches to ourselves, other than a few fishermen who have climbed the rocks at the end of fifth beach and are enthusiastically casting into the sunlit waters. The restaurant at the beach there is closed already and the used-to-be-wild boar have retreated to the higher slopes now the easy pickings from bulliable tourists have dried up.

Kanyon walk at the Millipark
The cooler days of autumn encourage us to tramp a bit of the Canyon Walk that crosses the peninsula to the old village of Doganbey. The Canyon walk is beautiful, the cool shade and easy gradient make it pleasant and peaceful with nothing to disturb the peace but the hum of the insects in the trees and the trickle of the stream that periodically finds a way to the surface beside the path. On either side of the trail the vari-coloured cliffs rear up and sturdy young pine trees twist valiantly from cracks in the rocks – who says pine is a soft wood!

The best views of the park and the sea and Samos are said to be at the six and half kilometer mark but we didn’t make it up that far, we just wandered a few kilometers in, dazzled by the light through the trees and the dizzying views overhead, bickering cheerfully with each other over the chances of spotting an Anatolian Leopard :-)

Guzelcamli Liman one October afternoon

In Guzelcamli the yali ev, the summer houses are mainly shut up, the sunny sites already deserted bar a few late visitors and some builders doing repairs before winter comes. The white sand beaches are mainly empty apart from busy squares of crowded sand outside the all inclusive hotels. In the small harbour at Guzelcamli the tour boats are tied up, day trips are now normally weekends only although the sea is as warm now as it was in August.

Hummingbird hawk moth lunching on the jasmine
Back in Kirazli all is quiet apart from the violent arguments of the house sparrows in the walls, trying to turf this years crop of young ones out of the nests. The humming bird hawk moth is gorging itself on the late jasmine, the honey bees are staggering through the air with heavily laden legs and the toad that lives by the outside tap still bathes nightly in the stone bowl of sun warmed water in the garden.

The nights are cooler – thank god! – and we close the doors an hour or so after sunset now. The first storms have been and gone and cleared the air of dust and the neighbours are all drying figs and grapes and peppers on their roofs and gathering in the aubergines and beans from the kitchen gardens and sharing them with their usual generosity.

There is a kind of lazy replete feeling in the air, the summer is done, the bayram is coming, the feet up before the olive harvest time is here and life is good this Indian Summer.

By the way – if you like the photos I have more on my Facebook profile, I normally post one every day and you can follow me on Facebook by clicking here – Facebook – Karyn

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September Sunsets

We were promised rain last Monday night, storms and rain, lightening and rain, wet stuff from the sky – hurray! Pathetic isn’t it, how excited you get about seeing rain and feeling rain and smelling rain after four months without a cloud in the sky.

I love the thunder storms and after repeated failures to photograph our starry skies to the required standard I wanted to photograph the lightening over the mountains so I set my camera up on the tripod in my bedroom and waited, finger on the trigger, as the clouds swept in from the sea and the rising wind rattled the drying leaves of the fig tree next door. A wall of cloud surrounded the valley, making the rising moon all misty and mystical and far away rumbles heralded sheet lightening out to sea. And then nothing. Nada. Bugger all. The clouds wandered off, the moon rose higher and it totally failed to rain.

I was rather grumpy about that, I had been looking forward to it. I left the camera set up at my bedroom window for a few days in the hope that the storms were just late. No such luck. But by way of a consolation prize we have been having beautiful sunsets this week and so here are a few of them, all glowy and golden and dramatic with painted clouds. September really does give the best sunsets.

Samos in the background
Painted clouds
Pomegranite sunset
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Cornucopia – Turkey for the open minded

Cornucopia Magazine
There is something hugely uplifting about Cornucopia, the tri annual magazine and online site that cherishes Turkey. I like to think of it as like the best baklava, the kind that gets offered on very special occasions, the kind that is layers of crisp goodness and bursts of exotic flavour and texture without the cloying sweetness of the more mainstream versions.

Cornucopia describes itself as for “connoisseurs of Turkey” but I prefer to think of it as Turkey for the open minded, for the people willing to consider this country as something more than a strip of hot sand between the mountains and the med or a hyperbolised headline in the Daily Mail.

Like the Gezi park protests galvanised a generation and blew creativity into every artist from Galata tower to Gazientep so Cornucopia’s online blog has responded to recent events and has found a new energy and an increased determination to show the true Turkey, the vibrant, living, inspired and inspiring Turkey that should be celebrated.

Recent blog articles have covered the 13th Istanbul Biennial on contemporary art -Access all areas/. A lovely piece on Hüseyin Çelikel, a 64-year old shopkeeper who started painting the steps in Istanbul – Rainbows end. And August travels to the Turquoise Coast – The seaside beckons. All accompanied by the high quality photographs that Cornucopia is justifiable known for.

In addition to the invigorated blog the online site has great resources for travellers, guides to the regions including wine tours and off the beaten track gems, some excellent hotels and museum guides.

You can also buy books from the site, order back issues or browse the events guide for exhibitions, lectures and speciality tours both in Turkey and overseas.

Cornucopia celebrates all things Turkish, it does it with passion and honesty and insight and I can’t think of any other resource online or off that has quite such a great attitude to this country. Don’t just wait for the magazine, explore Cornucopia online and discover Turkey.

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