I have spent most or part of the summer in Içmeler since 2009. When we moved back to the US in 2015 we didn’t go to Içmeler that summer. I have missed it more than I realized. It has also changed quite a bit. Between the “attempted” coup, the bombing in the Istanbul Airport in 2016 and the rate of inflation, the tourism rate is down significantly. We can see the results in the community here, and the business that are, and no longer there.
What I have been enjoying the most is watching Kayra absorb the language and the culture. What I have appreciated the most, is watching his grandparents interact with him, and respect the differences in which we have been raising him. For example Turkish folks kiss and hug babies. This means waiters kiss his cheeks and touch his face, strangers will stroke his face and kiss his hands, teenagers will pick him up and play with him. We have been raising Kayra with bodily autonomy, meaning we ask him if he wants kisses and hugs, and if he says no we respect that. While it is hard for them to not smother him in kisses and hugs, but they do ask, and listen to him, at least 70% of the time. It’s a start.
Ohh My Goodness. My first morning here we went out for brunch at place where they serve “Villager’s Breakfast.” To get there we drove up into the mountains and through the village. We arrived at the Restaurant. It was beautiful.
An open air establishment, they had designed the whole area around these big fat trees that must be a hundred years old. The restaurant was made of different levels of patios and wooden platforms constructed around the trees, and a stream running through the middle. It was a hot day, but nice and cool under the leaves, with the mountain breeze, and the fresh air from the water. It was rustic, here is the Mama hen and her chicks that were running around. Bülent is positive that she clucked in condemnation when he started feeding the chicks sugar cubes.
This is the duck couple that came by later. They were conversing pretty intently.
And the food.Bülent and his parents ordered sucuk omelets, and I had menemen. So tasty. The meal came with fresh warm bread, honeycomb, three types of cheese, olives, cucumbers and tomatoes, butter, homemade strawberry jam, peppers nuts and tea. Marmaris is known for its honey, and the honeycomb spread on bread was just about the best thing I have had. I will be looking for it later. After I take a run. Or eight.
From Ankara and Marmaris it took 10 hours. While driving through the middle of the country there is not alot other than natural beauty. This is my way of saying there was no radio station available for at least 9 hours of the trip. However, after we arrived and I was unpacking the car I found a case of CDs I could have played. That would have been nice, for me, but probably nicer for Bülent. I was a little bored at about the 6 hour mark and started singing. The songs I know well enough to sing (badly) are nursery rhymes and the poor man was assaulted by numerous versus of “Down by the Bay” and ” 5 Little Speckled Frogs.” However, all in all it was a good trip.
We stopped in Afyon and got a sucuk sandwich (the town is known for its amazingly tasty beef sausage.) There is no picture because it was too delicious to wait to eat. And then for dinner we stopped in a small town at a pide shop and got meat pide “Aegean Style” which translates into SUPER TASTY!! Served with raw onions and tomatoes.
And then this.
Try to look past the bug smeared windshield and appreciate what it is. It is my first glimpse of the Mediterranean after driving across the Anatolian hinterlands, and traversing several mountain ranges. We had been driving though curvy mountain passes for about an hour when we were able to see the sea. Marmaris is really gorgeous; it is situated on a small bay on the Mediterranean backed up against a mountain range. It is very warm by the sea, but about a mile back, towards the mountain a delicious breeze trickles down and it is never too hot. I am sure you will hear more about Marmaris the longer I am here.