Monthly Archives: September 2013

Popping out for a bottle of wine

popping-out-for-a-bottle-ofAfter Wednesday market we decided to pop out to buy some wine.  We got the dolmuş up to Şirıince and went shopping.  To be honest, we are not great fans of Şirıince.  It is marketed heavily as a ‘typical Turkish village’ but typical Turkish villages do not, in our experience have streets lined with souvenir shops which provide very bad value for money.  Şirıince is, however, famous for its wines.  Mostly fruit wines which we don’t like.  On Wednesday, however, we gave in to the stall holders who constantly invite you to taste their wines.  We had heard that there was a Sauvignon Blanc being made (but we failed to find it).  We sampled wine at several stores before settling for a young, very dry white on special offer.  We got three bottles.

Then we walked home.  Home from Şirıince is pretty much downhill, anGrapes-at-Sirinced it took about two hours.  No autumn colour yet but the scenery was, as ever, beautiful.  And we think it was good practice for much wine drinking walking as the weather gets cooler into autumn.

We have been adopted

Last year we had kittens on our roof.  We wrote a blog post about them.  We were determined to take them to the vet for ‘the chop’ as soon as they were old enough but one day, they just disappeared.

Mother with Beyaz and ButtonThis year, the mother is back.  Well, Hilary is convinced it is the same mother.  She is nursing four kittens (though they appear to be of different ages and we are not sure that they are all hers).  The first we called Woodpile Kedi  because he first appeared in a pile of wood that was outside the house opposite us for quite some time (until some other neighbours complained).  Then there was a white kitten and a tiny kitten (clearly the runt of the litter).  These have now become known as Beyaz Kedi and Button.  And another one.  Easy to confuse with Woodpile Kedi although he is smaller and has yellow eyes (Woodpile Kedi’s eyes are green) and different amounts of white on his paws.  This kitten is known as AWK.  And yes, we are pretty sure these kittens are all male.  In Hilary’s experience it is a lot easier to mistake a male kitten for a female than it is to mistake a female kitten for a male.

They are feral cats.  Mother frequently hisses at us when we have the temerity toAWK on the tablewalk down our path.  Woodpile and Beyaz won’t let us get near them.  We give them scraps and even cat food from time to time, there is always water left out for them.  All the kittens will come into the house when we are not looking.  None of them are permitted to sharpen claws on the kilims  Nor are they allowed to climb the suzani.  They are not allowed on laps or tables whilst we are eating.

AWK relaxing on Ashley's lapThese are feral kittens.    Button we can pick up as he is too small and weak to run away but AWK.  Well, AWK has adopted us.  He will sit on our laps whilst we are using the computer in the evenings, either in the house or on the terrace.  He seems to like the warmth.  And he resents it when we go out, comes running up to us when we return.  He jumps up on us, whether we have food or not and generally acts like a very tame and friendly pet.

AWK is off to the private vet’s for injections and deworming early next week.  The others will be taken to the Belediye for ‘fixing’ once they are old enough.  If we can catch them!

Lake Kovada National Park

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Another reason for our trip to Eğirdir was to visit Lake Kovada.  It is difficult to get to without your own transport, but in our view well work the effort.  At what is the public entrance there are a few signs detailing what you might see,  birds, mammals including wild cats and wolves, and various trees and other plants.  We saw a lot of different ducks, tits and finches, heard a falcon, probably a peregrine, and some lizards.  As expected we did not see wild apex predators.  There is a marked walking trail through the forest, with many labeled trees and shrubs, a few marked side trails, a view point, and some spectacular views.  It was hard to get close to the waterbirds, but then nearby (and hopefully outside the park) there were humans shooting… Ducks probably.  At whole area is incredibly pretty, so we’ll let the photos tell the rest.

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This was also the trip when the bike and our clothes got covered in tar and grit.  It is omgmostly off the bike now, it will never come out of the clothes.  A pity, but the park is wonderful.  Heading back to Eğirdir by a different route we were then treated with this wonderful view of mountains looking south towards Antalya and some wonderful riding on mountain roads.  A great day out and an area we will be returning to next year.  The view below was taken on the road toward Çandιr Kanyon somewhere we have yet to visit.

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Seasonal Produce

Last of summer peaches

Last of summer peaches

Today is half way from the longest day to the shortest.  Solstice, Equinox….  For those who celebrate, have a good day, night.    Here the weather remains lovely and will for some weeks yet.  Gone is the searing heat of July and August, and it does not really get cold until into December.

On the market there are signs of the changing of seasons.  The peaches are no longer so good, coming out of storage rather than straight off the trees.  The tomatoes are coming to an end though, like the peaches, there are still loads on the market – they are just not quite so delicious.  There are still many different sorts of beans but the summer fruit and veg is coming towards an end.

The broccoli is fantastic right now, as are the apples and the grapes.

Radishes are appearing, early mandolins (in our opinion not ready to eat), cauliflower, broccoli, celeriac, beet, and cabbages are becoming increasingly abundant.  There are the lighter skinned courgettes mixed with the darker green summer ones.  Autumn and winter gourds are starting to be around and the spinach is looking increasingly tempting.

Breakfast in autumn

Breakfast in autumn

But the real dilemma is this, to start on the winter veg knowing that come January when there is nothing else we will be fondly remembering summer food, or to continue with the summer fruit and veg which we have been eating loads of for the last few months and a change might be nice.

Zindan Cave – Into the Underworld

From our recent trip to Eğirdir.  Zindan cave is less an hour away from Eğirdir, near the village of Aksu.   It is not ticketed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism so Müze Kartlar are not accepted.  It is only a few lira, so no big deal and we were told we must wear one of the provided hard hats.

Like many caves in the area it has probably been inhabited or used for millennia but most of what is present in an archaeological sense is Roman and early Zindan-roman-bridgebyzantine.  A sanctuary to the goddess Eurymedon and later a chapel.  Outside of the cave in a fairly dramatic canyon is a restored Roman bridge, we may go back and do some walking in the canyon.

The cave is impressive, increasingly cold and damp the further you go in.  The accessible parts go in about 700 metres, no doubt it goes further but we were not about to attempt to delve deeper or try to find a labyrinth.  The public parts are illuminated.  Well worth a trip in our book.

Pisidean Antioch

Ashley

Ashley at Antioch

Whilst we were in Eğidir we took a trip to Antioch.  Which was impressive.  The journey there was quite hair raising as the Harley is not at all fond of gravel (the tar was on another day).  Also, when we got to Yalvaç we took quite a few wrong turnings before finding the site.  Which meant we missed finding the museum which is a pity in one way (because we hear it is very good) but a good thing in another way (because we will have to go back to Eğidir to see the things we missed).  It’s a sizeable site and soon swallowed up the handful of other visitors.

There are several places called Antioch.  The one in Isparta is Pisidian Antioch.  It has a very long history, having been inhabited since prehistoric times but what we could see stretched back most certainly to the Selucids.  There is an impressive Temple to the Emporer Augustus.  And a church where, it is claimed on site, St. Paul made his first preach.

Little Surprises in Life

Today Ashley started the process of getting new glasses since his old ones are more than two years old and we were pretty certain the  prescription had changed.  We went with staff from the Optician in Kuşadası to a local hospital for an eye test, and learnt that for some unknown reason our GSS (Health Insurance) was no longer in place.

We paid for the eye examination (at 100 lira it was not unreasonable).  It should have cost a lot less, but had we cancelled, gone to Tire to sort the insurance out, then back to Kuşadası, all the running around would have significantly eaten into any savings.

Back at the opticians we ordered the lenses, varifocal, transition, with anti-glare coating and scratch protection, at a very reasonable price.  They will be fitted, into Ashley’s existing Flexon frames, and should be ready for collection on Friday afternoon.  As part of the general customer service Ashley had his current lenses fitted into older frames, Hilary had hers adjusted and çay was provided.

Then since we were in Kuşadası  and it was approaching lunch time we went for balık ekmek in the much improved square near the fish market.  It was, as always, cheap and delicious.  We did look into the fish market just in case there might be some tuna or swordfish – unfortunately no such luck.  We did learn that the restaurant / locanta next to the fish market will cook fish bought by customers on the market.  There was a good deal of trade in giant prawns, selling and cooking.  Ashley may give this a try at some point.

We’d gone on the dolmuş in case the eye exam involved something that would make riding unwise but, once we got home with a few bits of shopping we hopped on the bike and went to the SGK office in Tire (about 35 km up the road in the opposite direction from Kuşadası).  Which was fun and games as it is market day in Tire and, of course, we couldn’t resist a couple of purchases.  Anyway, the people in the office were as puzzled as we were about why our insurance was suddenly stopped.  They checked our documents, took some photocopies, filled out a form, and  they reinstated it…

With all the issues we have had with GSS we will be checking in the pharmacy that we are both properly on the system, but they definitely did something, as we have now been able to pay our current premium.