Monthly Archives: November 2013

Shopping for Wine

Walk-from-Sirince-Nov-13We took a dolmuş up to Şirince, a local village with wineries and all too often too many tourists.  Not being a weekend and in late November the village was pretty quiet but still open for business.  Much of the wine is made from fruit other than grapes but there is a reasonable selection of wines made from grape.  One of the fun bits is that it is possible to wander around the village visiting the many wine houses and sampling the beverages on offer.  You only get a tiny glass but three or four at each of the many establishments….  It is well possible to get quite tipsy.

Many of the wines we tasted, all white and made from grapes, were a little sweet for us.  To be expected really, our tipple of choice is a bone dry Sauvignon Blanc.  What is on offer was mostly local grape and made in a German style, a bit like a dry Riesling – drinkable but not quite to our taste.

We ended up buying six bottles of a wine we had bought before, light, fruity, young, sufficiently dry, and interestingly the cheapest of those on offer, so certainly not a wine to get snobby over.  It is not dissimilar to what might come in a jug at a taverna in Greece – perfectly acceptable and something we have drunk enough of in the past.

To help us recover from the strenuous activity of tasting so many wines we decided it would be good for us to walk back home.  It was a sunny day, the walk is mostly downhill and takes a couple of hours.  And you don’t get a view like this walking home from Oddbins.

A challenging walk and overcoming fears

Notion-walkYesterday’s walk started at Notion, the port city near the Oracle at Claros at about 09:00.  We wandered around the site, receiving explanations of various structures.  It’s very tumbledown and unrestored and, we feel, deserves further exploration in a more leisurely manner.  A picnic lunch on a sunny winter day, Claros-columns-reflectionperhaps?  The views are quite spectacular.

From Notion we made our way through mandolin orchards to Claros.  We’ve blogged about Claros  before.  It is one of our favourite sites, and we’ve never seen it as crowded as it was yesterday with 50 walkers…

dealing-with-the-fenceThe idea was to walk up towards the village of Gölova but a number of locked gates and fenced off land blocked our way.  Instead we ascended through the Ales Valley and up several limestone inclines to a plateau where we at our lunch.  A couple of hours after lunch, following a steep and slippery descent (with some amazing views) we reached the minibus that was waiting to take us home.  We set off back for Selçuk shortly after five.

It should be said that Hilary does not like climbing.  She’s OK with walking and a Notion-climbing-2bit of a scramble, but there was a great deal of scrambling, and slipping and sliding.  However, despite a couple of panicky moments and thanks to the very helpful guides and fellow walkers, she made it.  As did everyone else.  The walk, advertised as ‘medium difficulty’ turned out to be rather tough…

We were fortunate with the weather.  There was a little mild drizzle as we settled down for lunch, but it was over in ten to fifteen minutes and we got back home dry.

We fell into bed early last night and got up late this morning (woken by stormy rain outside), very much aware of how hard we had work muscles better accustomed to walks of medium difficulty.

Winter is coming ….. Again

Towards-Seluck-November-walIt’s still not dropped below 10 degrees at night, but there is a distinct chill in the air and things look misty.  This is partly humidity and party woodsmoke.  We moved into our winter quarters about a week ago.  The new soba is doing a good job of warming the rooms (and less of a good job of drying the tea towels on the rail above it).  It lights easily, does not fill the room with smoke though it does need the glass cleaning every morning.  This is easily done with the paper the baker wraps the warm loaf in.  Get back with the hot bread, clean the stove glass…  It is becoming routine already.

blooming-NovemberThe bougainvillea doesn’t have too many flowers now, though we hope it will make some more in December.  The square bed by the back house is still looking colourful…

We had rain last week.  It started on Thursday when Hilary was on the way home from the dentist.  More is expected within the next 24 hours.  It may rain on Sunday.  We’re booked to go walking with Zirve again and they have asked, on Facebook, for us to confirm that we will still go, even if it is raining.  Well, we have good waterproofs now!  They need to be tested.

It’s dark soon after five in the afternoon now.  It seems very early.  Though, of course, the clocks were put back whilst we were in the UK.  It is light at eight in the morning, in winter we get more daylight hours and a lot more sunny hours than the UK.  A friend who lives in Sweden has reported morning temperatures of -4 degrees.  It makes us shiver to even think of it!  We think we are becoming acclimatised.

We had to rush aroucheerful-pansiesnd market last Saturday due to another engagement, but we managed to pick up something to brighten up the short dark days of winter.

Yeni Soba Var

We have aold-soba new wood burning stove.  It is a thing of beauty.  The old soba, it should be said, worked well enough.  It was always difficult to light, fussy about the size of wood, and made smoke in the house for at least a short period most evenings it was in use.

We thought that a wood burning stove would be a great improvement.  Hilary was very keen to have glass in the front of it so that she could watch the logs burning.  We have friends with wonderful stoves, bought from Canada or from Switzerland.  We also have a friend who bought his stove in Tekzen – a local chain and he was very pleased with it.  We rode out to Tekzen in Kuşadası and they didn’t have any nice stoves at all.  The only half way decent one they had was broken.  They thought they might get more in later in the season…

We did our Internet Research and found a shop in Izmir that sells Prity stoves.  These are made in Bulgaria and, whilst a great deal more expensive than Turkish models, are hugely cheaper than anything made in the UK, Scandinavia or Canada.  Last week we went up to Izmir and looked at the stoves, chose one and paid for it.  It arrived by Kargo on the day we requested.  We had to install it ourselves but, as it arrived early, we had plenty of time to walk into town to buy new pipes (the right length) and a new base.  It takes the same sized pipes as a local soba.  Installation was not a problem.

Ashley lit it on Thursday.  It works beautifully.  It heats the room more evenew-sobanly than the old one, you can see the pretty flames and it doesn’t make smoke inside the house…

Although, tonight there was smoke in the house, but that’s because Hilary forgot she had put croutons in the oven…

Kurşunlu Manastırı

kursun-sea-view-from-monastOn Sunday we went walking with Zirve Dağcılık ve Doğa Spor Klubu.  This excursion started in Davutlar from whence we walked up to an old, ruined monastery.  There were 51 people (including a sizeable contingent from the local University) and one dog.

kursun-cyclamenThe first bit was reasonably flat, then we came to a place where they are building a dam.  Beyond that the walking got steeper, though it was still walking.  It was fascinating to watch Kuşadası, Davutlar and the sea drop away beneath us as we climbed.

We had a while to poke around the monastery buildings themselves.  The place is fairly ruined but, inside the dome there are traces of reliefs and of paint.  A little further on we found a place to stop for the traditional lunch.

kursun-fire

With 51 people (and a dog) all walking, you don’t get to see a great deal of kursun-fungiwildlife.  But we heard blackbirds and saw lots of cyclamen.  Also many different kinds of fungus.

Walking back down was a bit quicker.  I think we took a shortcut.  The path was blocked in one place but we found a way around.  It was a great day out in excellent company with some spectacular views.  The walking was challenging enough to be interesting but not a real stretch of fitness (as it was last time).  Though our knees were feeling their age on Monday.

Image

Photo of the Month October 2013

We are still getting caught up after having been away for almost two whole weeks.  We’ve been busy and should have things to blog about soon.

Here, however, is a picture of storm clouds.

Storms

Home Sweet Home

We have been in the UK and Ireland.  Hence quiet.  Seeing family was great.  Gaelcon was great.  But it is good to be home.

It’s odd because the clocks went back whilst we were away – it now seems to get dark far too early and we are not used to the sun going down before we start cooking dinner.  The weather here continues pleasant.  Thundery showers were forecast for today but have not yet happened.  It’s misty and difficult to see the more distant hills, but Selçuk is still a beautiful place.

Sadly the kitten who adopted us has not turned up.  He went missing about a week before we left for the UK.

About all we have done since we got home is shop (there’s a market in Belevi on Sundays), cook, wash and clean.  Hoping to be back to normal in a day or so!